By Ron Jackson
South African flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane outboxed Julio Cesar Miranda of Mexico over 12 rounds in an entertaining fight to win the vacant IBF flyweight belt at the Wembley Indoor Arena in Johannesburg on Friday night. Judges Alejandro Lopes (Mexico) and Alfred Buqwana (South Africa) both scored the fight 117-111, whilst judge Wally Snowball (South Africa) had it 118-111.
Miranda (50.70 kg) came out at the first bell throwing fast combinations and stunned Mthalane (50.72 kg) with a short right to the head just before the bell to take the round.
In rounds two to four Mthalane boxing from behind his educated jab jolted the switch- hitting Mexican’s head back on occasions to take an early lead.
Through rounds five and six Miranda (30-5-1; 23) working on the inside scored with jolting uppercuts to possibly shade both rounds.
In round six referee Robert Byrd from the US who did a fine job warned both fighters for coming in low with the head.
Mthalane continued to use his superior boxing skills as he began to dominate Miranda in rounds seven to nine, but just before the end of the round he was badly hurt with a short right to the head and had to hang on until the bell.
In the tenth round Miranda whose right eye was beginning to puff up appeared to be tiring as the South African continued to outbox him.
Miranda who arrived late for the weigh-in which possibly indicated that he had problems making the weight made a last ditch effort in the eleventh throwing lefts and rights from all angles to possible shade the round.
A supremely conditioned and confident Mthalane (25-2; 16) boxed his way through round twelve to take a well earned decision and the belt.
On the undercard in an all southpaw clash Klaas Mboyane (53.12 kg) making the first defence of his South African bantamweight title scored a hard-earned unanimous 12 round points decision over the gutsy Cleutus Mbhele (52.96 kg)
Mboyane improves his record to 13-7-2; 7 and Mbhele drops to 12-3-2; 7.
Former WBF flyweight champion southpaw Zolani Tete (12-0; 11) returned to action after 8 months to blast out Anthony Matthias (12-7-3; 6) of Tanzania at 2 minutes 38 seconds of the first round to win the vacant WBO Africa flyweight title.
In a stunning upset South Africa’s Michael Schultz (14-1-2; 10) was knocked out with a right to the jaw by Tineyi Maridzo (8-6;3) of Zimbabwe at 1 minute 26 seconds of the first round in a bout for the vacant interim WBO super middleweight title.
In the opening bout of the evening junior featherweight Jeffrey Mathebula knocked out Rashid Ally of Tanzania after 2 minutes 59 seconds of the fourth round.
The tournament was presented by Branco Milenkovic of Branco Promotions.