By Ron Jackson
The year 2012 has been one of the poorest years in South African boxing in recent times with South African’s only participating in 17 “world” title fights and 19 South African title fights.
Wiseman Dlomo won the vacant heavyweight title on April, 29, 2011 and has never defended it.
The junior heavyweight title is vacant and the following champions have not made a defence during 2012, Tshepang Mohale (light heavyweight), Balemo Waliya (super middleweight), Christopher Buthelezi (middleweight), Nkululeko Mhlongo (junior middleweight), Godfrey Nzimande (junior lightweight), Luzuko Siyo (junior flyweight- relinquished title January 2012).
On the world title scene six South Africans fought for one of the major organisations, the IBF, eight for the IBO, two for the WBF and one for the World Boxing Foundation.
South African fighters won 11 “world” title fights with only three being for one of the major organisations, the IBF; the rest were for minor organisations like the IBO, WBF and WB Foundation.
At the end of the year seven South Africans could claim to hold a belt awarded by one of the “world’ organisations.
They were Tommy Oosthuizen (IBO super middleweight), Chris van Heerden (IBO welterweight), Hekkie Budler (IBO strawweight), Lubabalo Msutu (WBF), Zolani Marali (WBF), Lovemore Ndou( WB Foundation) and the standout South African fighter Moruti Mthalane, IBF flyweight champion, the only one holding a belt from one of the major organisations.
IBO super middleweight champion Oosthuizen was the most active “world” champion scoring four victories in the year, with three being successful title defences against Serge Yannick, Rowland Bryant, and Fulgencio Zuniga in title fights.
Among the landmark bouts for SA boxers in 2012 were:
In March, Kaizer Mabuza stopped Steve Wills of Australia to take the IBO junior welterweight belt. But he lost the belt to Khabib Allaqkhverdiev in June. The Russian beat him inside four rounds.
Also in March, Jeffrey Mathebula beat fellow South Africa Takalani Ndlovu for the IBF junior featherweight belt. Sadly he lost the belt to Nonitio Donaire with the WBO title also at stake in a courageous performance in July.
Nkosinathi Joyi made a successful defence of his IBF strawweight belt against Japan’s Katsunari Takayama in March but was knocked out in the seventh round in the heat of Guasave, Mexico by Mexican Mario Rodriguez in September to lose his crown.
Of these, only Nkosinathi Joyi (No7), Tommy Oosthuizen (No 4), Jeffrey Mathebula (No4) and Moruti Mtahlane (No 3) are ranked by the The Ring magazine.
Mthalane is probably the best SA fighter, pound for pound, but he has had only four fights since September 2010. His only fight in 2012 was against Ricardo Nunez of Panama in Panama City in September which he won on an eighth round stoppage.
Among the SA boxers who impressed during 2012 were Tommy Oosthuizen and Hekkie Budler.
The standard of boxing in some national title fights was also well below par, as was the officiating in several fights.