Boxing Snippets

Cassius Baloyi, a belt collector of note.

Cassius Baloyi from Malamulele, Limpopo was primarily a rangy boxer who used his jab and superb boxing skills to confound his opponents. At the start of his career, he was known as “Mr. Shy Guy” but as time went by, it became apparent that he could punch as well, and his moniker morphed into “The Hitman.”
Perhaps the original nickname was more appropriate. Baloyi was never much of a talker. He preferred to do his talking in the ring and when he was on his game, he delivered fistic poetry.
He won his first world title, the WBU junior featherweight belt in 1996, outpointing future IBF featherweight champion, Frankie Toledo, in the US and proceeded to defend it three times before moving up to featherweight where he captured his second WBU title, outboxing Sergio Rafael Liendo over twelve rounds. He made seven successful defenses of his featherweight crown. Highlights of his reign included a first round stoppage of former IBF champion, Hector Lizaragga, as well as a win over former WBO champion, Steve Robinson.
He moved up to the junior lightweight division in 2001 to challenge Philip Ndou for his WBU title in a local super fight. In one of the best ring wars in South African history, he dropped a decision and suffered his first defeat. The defeat did nothing to diminish his reputation and in his very next fight, he stopped Tiger Ari in six rounds for the vacant IBO title. His third title reign was another memorable one. His four title defenses included a stoppage win over two weight world champion, Mbulelo Botile and a pair of wins over another former world champion, Lehlohonolo Ledwaba.
He then dipped his toe in the lightweight division, taking on future IBF welterweight champion, Isaac Hlatshwayo, for another IBO title. Hlatshwayo was just too big and Baloyi lost a decision. However, he continued his habit of spectacular rebounds when he dropped back to junior lightweight to win the IBF world title, adding it to his IBO belt, by stopping the Mexican veteran, Manuel Medina, in 11 rounds in 2007.
He lost the title in an upset to Gairy St Clair in his first defense but regained the vacant IBO belt by stopping Nazareno Gaston Ruiz in his next fight, reversed the loss to St Clair (by then an ex-champion) and regained his IBF world title by outboxing Mzonke Fana over twelve rounds in 2008.
He made one successful defense before losing it to Malcom Klassen in the only stoppage defeat of his career. That marked the end of his world championship run and he finally retired in 2012 with a record of 37-8-1.
In terms of burgeoning trophy cases, Baloyi was our most prolific world champion. Over an eighteen-year career, he won a total of six world title belts over three weight divisions, facing an incredible 12 world champions in the process.
That takes some doing!

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