By Ron Jackson
In an exciting slugfest Sabelo Jubatha stopped Luthando Vukuza in the tenth round to win the South African featherweight title in East London on Friday night. A packed Orient Theatre saw Jubatha (57.10 kg) come from behind to back Vukuza (57.05 kg) up against the ropes in the ninth round and land with a left-right combination to jaw that dumped in on the seat of his pants. Vukuza, 22, just managed to beat the count and the referee would have been justified in stopping the fight with only seconds left in the round. It was a shaky Vukuza who came out for the tenth round and it came as no surprise when the challenger landed with a left hook to the jaw that sent him reeling against the ropes and when he turned his back on Jubutha, referee Andile Matika waved the fight off at 1:34 into the round.
From the first bell both fighters stormed in and ignoring defence stood toe-toe throwing punches.
Vukuza turned the fight around in the fifth and started opening a useful lead as the boxers settled into a more sensible pace. Jubatha, lacking the experience and accuracy to make his punches count, seemed to be slipping out of contention.
Unfortunately the southpaw Vukuza (8-5-1; 0) who was the better boxer made the mistake of being drawn into a slugfest by the shorter and stronger Jubatha (10-1; 6) and paid the penalty when he ran out of gas and was stopped in the tenth round.
The 24-year-old Jubutha is an exciting young fighter but would be well advised to improve his defence if he wants to hold on to the title.
The judges were Simphiwe Mbini, Lulama Mtya and Andile Matika.
The tournament was presented by Koko Godlo’s KK Productions in conjunction with Siphatho Handi’s Mamali Boxing Promotions.
On the undercard in a bantamweight contest Mncedi Yokose (53.45 kg) stopped Lindile Petse (51.25 kg) at 1 minute 34 seconds into round four of a scheduled six.
In another scheduled six rounder Odwa Matima (58.30 kg) knocked out Simphiwe Foba (58.90 kg) at 1 minute 26 seconds into the first round. They were fighting at junior lightweight.