By Ron Jackson
Chris van Heerden retained his SA welterweight title when he beat Boitshepo Mandawe on points over 12 rounds at the Dr Malan School hall in Meyerton, near Johannesburg, on Friday night. In a gruelling and sometimes rather wild slugfest with neither fighter showing any particular boxing skills Van Heerden (66.44kg) finished strongly to take a unanimous decision. Judges David van Nieuwenhuizen and Joseph Chaane both scored it 117-110 and judge Boitumelo Madiba made it 116-111.
Mandawe (65.72kg) made a fast start and possibly shaded the first three rounds as he penetrated the southpaw champion’s leaky defence.
However, Mandawe then lost his way as he spent the rest of the fight following the champion around the ring throwing wild punches instead of cutting the ring off and setting up his punches.
Van Heerden scored a flash knockdown with a short right to the jaw in the ninth round without doing much damage and Mandawe took a count from referee Jaap van Nieuwenhuizen.
Mandawe’s record was announced from the ring as 9-0; 8 before the fight and Van Heerden improved his record to 13-0-1; 9.
On the undercard in a middleweight contest Michael van Heerden 6-1-1 won on a fourth round disqualification against Kobus Motloding 2-8 in a scheduled six.
The tournament was presented by Knockout Promotions.
Meanwhile it has been reported that the IBF has approved an eliminator for the junior featherweight belt between Takalani Ndlovu from South Africa and Kiki Martinez. The bout is scheduled to take place on September 25 at the Nasrec Indoor Arena in Johannesburg.