By Ron Jackson
Tsiko Mulovhedzi came back from a from a first-round knockdown to retain his SA welterweight title when he stopped Kyle Smith at 2 minutes 13 seconds into the fifth round of their fight at the Nasrec Expo Centre, Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon.
In the co-feature, in a battle of former world champions Malcolm Klassen defeated Cassius Baloyi in an eight-rounder.
The 29-year-old Smith, who weighed 66.65 kg, came out fast at the opening bell and caught the champion with a barrage of punches before landing a right to the jaw that sent Mulovehesi down in the corner.
The superbly fit Mulovhedzi (66.3 kg) survived the round by holding and mauling and came back well to take the second, third round and fourth rounds with some sharp lefts and rights to the head.
The 25-year-old champion dropped Smith for a count midway through the fifth round and soon afterwards the challenger went down again.
Smith beat the count again but was little more than a punching bag being battered against the ropes until referee Thabo Spampool stepped in, rather belatedly, to end the fight.
It was a much improved performance by Mulovhedzi who won the vacant title in August in a clash with Boitshepo Mandawe.
He showed he could also punch a bit as he improved his record to 6-7-3, including 3 knockouts. Smith’s reported record dropped to 11-2; 7.
The judges were Boitumelo Madiba, Simon Xamlashe and Joseph Chaane.
KLASSEN BEATS BALOYI
In the main supporting bout, a lightweight clash between former IBF junior lightweight champions, Malcolm Klassen (59.15 kg) beat Cassius Baloyi (59.70 kg) on points over eight rounds.
Judges Spampool and Simon Mokadi scored it 77-73 and 80-72 and Alfred Buqwana had it a rather surprising 77-75.
The 31-year-old Klassen dominated from the first round against the 38-year-old Baloyi, who never won a round on my card.
Baloyi’s record dropped to 37-8-1; 19 and he announced his retirement from boxing after the fight. Klassen improved his record to 26-5-2, with 14 knockouts.
Welterweight: Vusi Bilankulu stopped Evans Rekhoso in the first round
Middleweight: Walter Dlamini stopped Christo Smith in the second round
Junior welterweight: Keith Nkosi stopped Jules Batala in the fourth round
Junior middleweight: Bongani Mlotswa stopped Sylvester Zaki in the sixth round.
The tournament was presented by Pat Molefe of Rainbow Promotions.