By Ron Jackson
Phumzile Matyhila upset the odds to win the South African bantamweight title when he beat Nkqubela Gwazela on a 12 round split decision at the Orient Theatre in East London on Sunday afternoon. Judges Allan Matakane and Andile Matika scored it 116-115 and 115-114 for Matyhila and judge Siya Vabaza had it 115-113 for Gwazela.
In a closely fought contest Gwazela 20-7; 14 made a fast start as he scored to the body and head to take an early lead against the taller Matyhila 17-1-2; 9.
However the 30-year old champion appeared to tire in the later rounds as he allowed the 34-year-ols Matyhila who spent most of the fight fighting off the back foot to come back into the fight and do enough to impress two of the judges,
Nqubela appeared a shade unlucky to lose his crown on such close margins and a return fight would be welcome for the fans.
Referee Lulama Mtya had an easy afternoons work in a cleanly contested fight throughout.
The tournament was presented by Mzi Mnguni of Eyethu Promotions.