By Ron Jackson
Danie Venter, Thabiso Mchunu and Zack Mkwekasse are in the second round of the South African Super 8 cruiserweight series. The three won their fights in the first round of the competition at Emperors Palace, near Johannesburg, on Saturday night. Two first-round stoppages and an eight-round battle marked the start of the Last Man Standing series presented by Rodney Berman’s Golden Gloves Promotions.
Venter and Daniel Bruwer, both weighing 89.35 kg, went to war in their bout after the two earlier Super 8 fights were finished before the end of the first round. Venter, a former Commonwealth Games bronze medalist, Olympic Games fighter and former SA junior heavyweight champion, hit Bruwer all around the ring in most of the rounds but had to go the full eight to reach the next stage of the competition. Venter won by unanimous decision: 79-72 on two cards and 78-73 on the third.
Bruwer, a former SA light-heavyweight champion who seems immune to big blows, played the role of the baddie, scrapping, laughing and talking through most of the fight but he did not land enough punches to progress. He went down for a count in the seventh round but got up and fought on. His record dropped to 25-4-1, including 21 stoppage wins. Venter’s now stands at 14-5; 10.
The second bout of the series, between Nchunu and Flo Simba, ended sensationally when referee Tony Nyangiwe jumped in to stop the action after 2 minutes 53 seconds of the first round.
Nchunu (89 kg) had caught Simba (88.3 kg) with a couple of solid blows to the head. Simba lost his balance and stumbled towards the ropes, with his back momentarily turned towards his assailant.
He turned, kept his gloves high and was shaping up to fight back when the referee became the villain of the night by stopping the bout, prematurely in the eyes of most experts and spectators.
Nchunu improved to 11-1, with 9 knockouts. Simba, trying to get his career back on the rails, dropped to 11-3; 10.
In the first Super 8 bout, Zack Mkwekasse from the Democratic Republic of Congo took 81 seconds to beat Tsepang Mohale. Referee Wally Snowball stopped the bout when Mohale went down for the second time.
Mkwekasse improved to 13-3, with 12 knockouts. Mohale, who quickly got up after he was dropped in the opening round, went down again within a few seconds as his record dropped to 8-5; 7.
Earlier SA light-heavyweight champion Johnny Muller (9-1-2; 7) was given a free pass into the next round when US-based Israeli Ran Nakash (26-1; 18) failed to weigh in under the cruiserweight limit.
In a catchweight four-rounder, Kevin Lerena (3-0; 3) knocked out Lucas Jere (3-2-1) from Zambia in 53 seconds
Lerena, who weighed 83.5 kg, caught the visitor on the side of the head with the inside of his wrist and it was all over. The referee van Jaap van Nieuwenhuizen.