The second leg of the 4@War tournament takes place on Wednesday, 2 September, at Emperor’s Palace, pending approval from Boxing South Africa. Fight fans can enjoy the action from the comfort of their couch, courtesy of Supersport.
In the final of the 4@War junior middleweight tournament, Boyd Allen defends his WBA Pan African junior middleweight title against Brandon Thysse over 12 rounds. The pair met before in 2019, with Allen winning a close decision. They seemed destined to meet again and now they can erase all doubts.
In the semi-finals of the tournament, Thysse fought a war with Roarke Knapp in a fight that stole the show. Thysse showed his trademark left jab and fighting heart but more importantly, he also ironed out some of the crinkles in his game. Gone was the slow start, Thysse getting stuck in from the get-go. Knapp came back well in the middle rounds, but Thysse left no doubt in the seventh, dropping Knapp three times to get the knockout win.
“I think that was Brandon’s coming out performance,” says trainer Damien Durandt. “In the beginning of the tournament, everyone wrote him off and now many people are picking him to win it. The key is not to get complacent and stay focused. Their previous fight was very close and as long as he maintains his form, he will win it.”
Brandon Thysse, however, is not the only one who showed improvement during the semi-finals.
Boyd Allen, the former MMA star, also showed some new angles to his game under trainer, Peter Smith. It was a more poised and calculated Allen in the semi-final against Tristan Truter. Entering the tenth round, the fight was still up for grabs, with some having Allen ahead and others giving the edge to Truter. Allen did what was required and closed the show in style, hurting an attacking Truter with his right and then banging away at him on the ropes to force the stoppage.
“I thought Boyd did extremely well. I said to him that he will win by knockout, which he didn’t believe at first. He is very good listener, very teachable fighter,” says trainer Peter Smith.
Smith is not taking their opponent lightly though. “Thysse’s confidence has shifted to another level and a confident fighter is a dangerous fighter. It is a tough one, but we have the right preparation and I believe we are going to win.”
In the main supporting bout, Jabulani Makhense dips his toe into the welterweight division, where he will be contesting the vacant WBA Pan African title over ten rounds against Eric Kapia from the DRC.
Makhense came to the pro game with an extensive amateur background that included a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games. He had a breakout year of note in 2019, recording three impressive wins over Xolani Mcotheli, Micheal Mokoena and Marios Matamba. In a terrific fight of contrasting styles, Matamba gave him a hard time over the first half of the fight but in the end, his superior speed and skills won the day.
Trainer, Sebastiaan Rothman, wants Makhense to make a statement. “People say that he only does enough to win and we want to change that. Obviously, we are not going to turn the fight into a slugfest, that would be stupid, but we are working on him sitting down on his punches. I want him to hit his opponent with five, six punches at a time and try and get him out of there.”
That may be easier said than done. Makhense is undefeated in his nine pro outings, but with a 22-3-2 record, Kapia is the more experienced. He is not a big puncher, but he is certainly durable and well-travelled, having gone the 12-round distance in Russia in his last bout and holding Roarke Knapp to a draw. Thulani Mbenge remains the only man to stop him and it would be interesting to see what Makhense will do against him.