By Ron Jackson
Godfrey Nzimande retained his SA junior lightweight title when he stopped Ayanda Yaphi in the eighth round in East London on Sunday. Some spectators thought referee Allen Matakane had stopped the bout at the Orient Theatre rather prematurely. It was an untidy affair, nevertheless.
Nzimande, who had weighed in at 58.45 kg, appeared to be too tense in the first round and kept swinging and missing badly throughout. However, he took an early lead after dropping Yaphi (58.75 kg) for a count with a straight right to the jaw in the third round.
The champion began to tire in the fifth round as the gutsy Yaphi, who was cut above the left eye in the second round, came back into the fight, despite the handicap.
The fight turned into a brawl midway through, with both fighters pushing and leaning on each other.
In the eighth round, Nzimande backed Yaphi into a neutral corner. He landed some light, cuffing blows to the head before referee Matakane stepped in to call the fight off, 1 minute 52 seconds into the round.
Most of the spectators were extremely unhappy and booed the decision. There was also some ugly pushing in the ring between Mzi Mnguni, Yaphi’s manager, the referee and Boxing SA board members.
Nzimande improved his record to 23-3-2, with 14 knockouts. Yaphi dropped to 15-3-1; 6.
The judges were Lulama Mtya, Simphiwe Mbini and Siya Vabaza.
Lusanda Komanis (53.25 kg) retained his Eastern Cape bantamweight title when he stopped Madoda Qonono (52.85 kg) two minutes into the fifth round.
Junior flyweight: Siyanda Jubese beat Luthando Banethi, tko 2
Junior lightweight: Vuyani Masondo and Vusumsi Bokolo drew over six rounds.
The tournament was presented by Mzi Mnguni of Eyethu Boxing Promotions.