By Ron Jackson
Siphosethu Mvula claimed the vacant SA junior bantamweight title when he beat Unathi Gqoma in East London on Sunday. The six-fight novice won by what seemed a rather fortunate unanimous decision. Judges Siya Vabaza-Booi and Lulama Mtya scored it 116-112 and 116-113 and Simphiwo Mbini handed in a card showing 116-111.
The bout at the Orient Theatre will not go down as one of aesthetically pleasing SA title fights seen in recent years. It was, in fact, a scrappy affair. Neither fighter did much in the first three rounds but Gqoma (51.95 kg) picked up the pace in the fourth, fifth and sixth. Mvula (52.15 kg) appeared to lose interest and kept moving towards the ropes, covering up.
The 26-year-old Gqoma began showboating in the seventh round and paid the penalty. He was caught off balance as Mvula hit him with a right to the side of the head that sent him down on the seat of pants.
Gqoma got up immediately, before referee Allen Matakane could pick up the count.
There was little action during rounds eight to eleven but Mvulu came out fast in the last round, throwing punches and finishing strongly. It enabled the 20-year-old to improve his record to 7-0, with 6 wins inside the distance. Gqoma’s dropped to 19-6-1; 6.
Malibongwe Mntusanto (46.70 kg) caused an upset when he knocked out defending champion Bongani Mfundisi (47.60 kg) in the sixth round to win the Eastern Cape mini-flyweight title.
There was little in the fight before Mntusanto backed Mfundisi up against the ropes in the sixth round to land a right to the jaw. He followed it up with another right to the side of the head that sent the champion flat on his face. He was counted out 37 seconds into the round.
Ringside doctors attended to Mfundisi before the boxer was taken from the ring on a stretcher.
Other results: Mini-flyweight: Nhlana Ngamntwini beat Khanyakude Mukhansi on points over eight rounds.
Junior flyweight: Vuyani Keswa beat Luziko Siyo on points over six rounds.
The tournament was presented by Mzi Mnguni of Eyethu Promotions.