By Ron Jackson
South African junior middleweight champion Vincent Vuma makes the fifth defence of his title when he meets Tshepo Mashego in a rubber match at the Sasol Recreation Club in Embaleni, Secunda on Friday night. The tournament is presented by Tshehla’s Mpumalanga Boxing Promotions.
Vuma, 32, made his professional debut on July 14, 1999 with a points win over Gerhardus Thysse. Vuma first won the SA junior middleweight title when he outpointed William Gare in Cape Town on November 16, 2002 but then lost his crown in his first defence when he was knocked out in the eighth round by the Mashego. He subsequently regained the title in September 2005 with a points win over William Gare who had taken the title from Mashego. Vuma went on to make successful defences of the title against Gare, Delta Mukhithi, Mashego and Alvin Mahonisi.
In between these defences he won the WBC International super welterweight title which he subsequently lost to Ryan Rhodes of England in November 2008. In his most recent fight in March this year he was in outstanding form when he beat Hamlet Petrosyn from Armenia on points in Switzerland to win the IBF Inter Continental junior middleweight title.
In 30 fights Vuma has won 27 with 15 inside the distance and his only losses have been to Mashego, Rhodes and a six round points decision against Reda Zam Zam in October 2003.
Mashego 16-9; 9 made his pro debut in April 1999 and won his first eight fights before being knocked out in the fifth round by Joseph Makaringe when challenging for the SA welterweight title and in his next fight he was outpointed by Aslanbek Kodzoev of Russia in a clash for the WBC Youth middleweight title.
He then defeated Sello Letsoalo twice and Delta Mukhithi before losing on points to Felix Sturm of Germany who would go on to win the WBO middleweight belt and is the current WBA middleweight champion. After winning the SA middleweight title from Vuma in June 2003 he made successful defences against William Gare and Christopher Buthelezi before losing the title to Gare in a return match.
Since the loss to Gare in November 2004 Mashego’s record has become rather spotty, losing to Nakivubo Lasambya (tko 6), Vuma (disputed points decision), Jamie Pittman (pts 12) and in his most recent fight in February last year he was knocked out in the first round by Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan.
His only win during this period was against Johannes Pietersen.
With only one win in five fights since November 2004 it is rather surprising that Mashego qualifies for a SA title challenge and it will be a major upset if he beats the in form Vuma.
On the undercard Page Tshesane and Theophilus Mpakane meet for the vacant Mpumalanga junior middleweight title.
Meanwhile it has been reported that Cassius Baloyi has left long-time trainer Nick Durandt and joined the Manny Fernandes stable that operates from the Wembley Arena in the south of Johannesburg.
Promoter Branco Milenkovic of Branco Sports Productions has advised that the IBF mini flyweight title eliminator between Nkosinathi Joyi 19-0; 15 and Florante Condes 23-4-1; 20 from Indonesia will now take place in East London on June 29.