Boxing Snippets

‘Magic Man’ Malajika tames brittle Braithwaite

Years of rich promise came together for Ricardo Malajika at Emperors Palace as he produced a virtuoso performance against Marcel Braithwaite in his maiden IBO world super-flyweight title defence on Friday night.
The southpaw was in a different class as he toyed with the UK challenger, hitting him at will on his way to a shutout win (120-108) on all three judges’ cards.
Braithwaite had come in hopefully to the strains of Liverpool anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, but he was found wanting for inspiration as he adopted strange tactics from the beginning. He was reluctant to engage and his corner curiously urged him to “wait” round after round, presumably in the hope that Braithwaite would find a Hail Mary punch late in the fight. But this was a poor strategy and the Briton found himself reduced to little more than a befuddled spectator as he ate punch after punch from the southpaw title holder.
Braithwaite may have been the British and Commonwealth champion, but he demonstrated little of what had brought him these honours, partly because of his ultra-cautions tactics, partly because Malajika was in a different league. Indeed, this was the finest performance of the South African’s career and bigger fights now surely await the slick champion.
Malajika was calculated and controlled from the start, his long reach and accurate hands met by little more than feints and occasional parries by Braithwaite. It was the same story round after round; the Liverpudlian never asked a single serious question of the champion.
Unsurprisingly, he was busted up late in the fight and his face was a gruesome mask of blood through the last three rounds.
It did more than affect Braithwaite’s vision, it summed up the paucity of his challenge and reflected the sheer mastery of magic Malajika.

Potgieter stuns Gomes with late rally
In the most exciting fight of the night, gritty challenger Shaun Potgieter rallied late to stun and stop SA heavyweight champion Keaton Gomes in the 11th round.
It was a stunning turnaround for the veteran challenger who two years ago succumbed by KO to Gomes. But this second meeting was different in every way.
Potgieter was mentally and physically in a different class, having shed an extraordinary 30kg in training to ensure he would come in fit and strong. At 110kg he was 10 kilograms heavier than the champion and he used his bulk well to lean on Gomes and tire him.
When Gomes teed off from distance, winging in right hands, he was effective, but when Potgieter closed the distance, he was far superior on the inside. He clubbed Gomes at will, although he surrendered the early rounds to find his rhythm.
Trainer Gert Strydom had planned it exactly this way, banking on a late finish to do the job. The tactics were superb. Potgieter absorbed many big right hands, but he wasn’t to be denied.
He walked Gomes down and roughed him up on the inside. The champion was resolute, though, and his counters were effective, producing a brilliant tear-up which the crowd loved.
For big men, the pair fought at an impressive pace, trading hard and heavy through the late rounds.
With the momentum having shifted halfway through to Potgieter, he rammed home the advantage in a savage 11th round with an uppercut and a right hand bringing an end to Gomes’ fight. He was counted out by referee Tony Nyangiwe and was helped to his corner where he required several minutes to recover from the stunning stoppage.
The new champion was thrilled. “The first fight I was mentally and physically unfit, but tonight we stuck to the gameplan. The toughest war is the war you fight with yourself. Tonight, I overcame.”

Thysse edges rugged Rossouw
Brandon Thysse was expected to school Darrin Rossouw in their junior-middleweight 10-rounder, but he was given all the trouble he could handle in an entertaining 10-rounder, edging a split decision (96-94, 96-94, 94-96).
Trainer Damien Durandt had predicted that experience would prove the difference and ultimately this proved true with Thysse demonstrating a little more finesse and accuracy to eke out the decision.
Rossouw had his moments – his counter-punching was often effective – but Thysse had too many tools, not least a longer reach, using his arms like levers, that proved critical.
Thysse is so technically correct it’s surprising he hasn’t had a bigger career. All of his virtues were on display here and in Rossouw he had a willing dance partner. He landed repeated shots on Rossouw, who sucked them up and countered hard.
Thysse fighting at distance was a shrewd tactic and as hard as Rossouw tried, he could seldom rattle Thysse, who looked comfortable and was rarely flustered. The exception was when he was hit low in the 10th and took a timeout, the only low point in an otherwise entertaining bout that had much to recommend from both combatants.

Louw makes winning debut.
Clifford Louw, Ryno Liebenberg’s light-heavyweight protégé, had a harder than anticipated debut against Sanele Mbatha, but managed a majority draw in their four-rounder.
Mbatha was poorly conditioned, but absorbed shots well from his southpaw opponent and had an especially good third round to help square the fight.
Although Louw had his moments, reservations over his natural weight looked telling; he may well be better suited at super-middleweight where his poundage will likely be more effective.

Prosser goes the distance for first time.
Dylan Prosser was made to go the distance for the first time, winning easily enough over four rounds against Fhulufhelo Ramaliba (39-38, 39-37, 40-36) at middleweight.
Prosser, from Cape Town, jumped on Ramaliba early and teed off in the opening two rounds, but Ramaliba absorbed the shelling and was able to frustrate Prosser with his tactics. By the fourth Prosser had settled down and looked to be satisfied drawing out the action, comfortable in both his performance and his certainty of winning.

Promnick power sets the scene.

In the show opener, Dean Promnick looked like a solid prospect with a winning debut coming via third-round stoppage against Khumbulani Duma at middleweight.
Boxing behind a stiff jab and a high guard, he showed patience against KZN’s Duma. With trainer Matt Leisching urging him to pressure his opponent, Promnick pressed the action.
He copped a big right hand in the second but rode it well before stunning Duma with a heavy right and several whipping body shots in the third that ended the fight with Duma on his feet but in no condition to continue.

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