Boxing Snippets

Bantam hero Botile still ranks among SA’s best

Mbulelo Botile, who won the IBF bantamweight and featherweight belts and IBO featherweight belt, is one of the select few South African fighters who have won more than one world title.

Botile was born on July 23, 1972 in Duncan Village near East London and is reported to have had more than 300 fights as an amateur, losing only a few with one of losses being against Zolile Mbityi, who as a professional would go on to win two South African titles and two world titles.

He made his pro debut in 1989 in Bisho, winning via third-round stoppage against

Makhosandile Mbiza and then took his unbeaten streak to 11 with eight inside the distance.

In only his 12th fight in, 1994 in Cape Town he beat the vastly experienced Derrick Whiteboy (34-3-1), who was making the eighth defence of his title, by split decision to win the South African bantamweight crown.

He never defended the title and relinquished it three months later to further his career on the world scene, scoring victories over three foreign fighters before challenging Harold Mestre for the IBF bantamweight belt.

In April 1995, on a cold night at the FNB Stadium in front of a crowd estimated at 2500 at the home of South African football, Botile pulled off the biggest victory of his career with a sensational second-round knockout of the Colombian.

After making five successful defences of the title a weight-drained Botile eventually lost the belt to Tim Austin in Nashville, Tennessee.

Moving up in weight he travelled to Sheffield, England to challenge Paul Ingle for the IBF and IBO featherweight belts in December 2000.

Going into the fight, Ingle had only suffered one loss on his record and that was against one of best featherweights in the world recent years, Naseem Hamed, who stopped him in the 11th round in a challenge for the WBO featherweight belt.

Botile would stop Ingle at 20 seconds into the 12th and rather sadly he collapsed in the ring and was taken to hospital, and subsequently had two operations for a blood clot on his brain.

Ingle never recovered fully and today he has difficulty with his sight, speech and balance.

Botile, perhaps predictably, was never the same after this tragedy and lost his next three fights before retiring in March 2005 with an outstanding record of 27-4 (16 KOs).



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