By Ron Jackson
Tshepo Lefele retained his South African minimumweight title when challenger Sakhumzi Mqadaru could not answer the bell for the seventh round at the Nasrec Indoor Arena in Johannesburg on Friday night.
The 28-year-old Lefele (47.58kg) from Theunissen in the Free State had trouble with the taller Mqadaru (47.62kg) in the first two rounds, but picked up the pace in round three.
Mqadaru went down from a head butt in the third round which was incorrectly ruled as a knockdown by referee Alfred Buqwana.
Through rounds four and five the champion continued to press forward to score with stinging lefts and rights to the head as the challengers defence let him down.
Near the end of the sixth round Mqadaru was dumped on the seat of his pants by a big left hook and a right to the jaw.
Mqadaru, 27, managed to beat the count and was possibly saved from a knockout by the bell.
His corner wisely refused to let him come out for the bell at the beginning of the seventh round as Lefele retained his title for the first time.
Lefele takes his record to 15-4; 9 and Mqadaru’s record as announced at ringside drops to 11-4-3; 7.
The judges were Tony Nyangiwe, Jaap van Nieuwenhuizen and Boitumelo Madiba; and the tournament was presented by Branco Milencovic of Branco Sports Promotions.
On the undercard in a junior welterweight contest Jason Bedeman (63.50kg) and Sifiso Mthethwa (63.08kg) fought to a draw over six rounds in an all action contest. Bedeman takes his record to 7 wins and a draw and Mthethwa goes to 4-4-1.