Boxing Snippets

Masterful Mchunu takes Muller to school

Thabiso Mchunu bangs in a hard left against Johnny Muller at Emperors Palace on Saturday. Pic: JAMES GRADIDGE

Sometimes heart and determination isn’t enough, as Johnny Muller found to his cost against an inspired Thabiso Mchunu at Emperors Palace on Saturday night.

Mchunu captured the ABU cruiserweight title with a lopsided points win against battle-scarred Muller, who ran out of ideas early against a more thoughtful, technical fighter who had few problems asserting himself.

Southpaw Mchunu had success from the off, his fast hands working a treat upstairs and downstairs as he took the fight to Muller. Despite his reach advantage, Muller had no leverage and struggled to contain an opponent who was far too slick. There were times he tried to rumble, but before long it became an exercise in frustration as recognised by the scorelines of 120-108 all round.

Nothing Muller did seemed to work and he just wasn’t busy enough to make Mchunu move out of third gear. Muller evidently knew what he needed to do, especially with the scores being read out after four and eight rounds respectively, but he just couldn’t pull the trigger in what amounted to a tepid display. This was his eighth loss and he’ll find it hard to rebound to any meaningful degree.

Mchunu, meanwhile, showed that there is still plenty left in the tank. He probably ought to have stopped Muller, even though he isn’t the biggest puncher around, but his game is enough to trouble even elite cruiserweights. He’ll come again.

Top form from Konkco
On the sort of form he showed on the undercard, Simpiwe Konkco will hang onto the IBO strawweight title for as long as he wants.

The pint-sized South African put on a technical master class against outgunned Lito Dante of the Philippines and won by scores of 118-110, 119-109, 119-109.

Simpiwe Konkco gives Lito Dante a working over. Pic: JAMES GRADIDGE

Konkco’s accuracy was the key to the win as he bore down on Dante through every round. It was a close-quarter battle most of the time, Konkco’s right hand working a treat against a man who just wasn’t equipped at this level. Dante scrambled from time to time, but the South African was too slick as he proved superior offensively and defensively.

Konkco is much improved from the time he fought Hekkie Budler and would hold his own against any of the other organisation champions. It’s a plan Rodney Berman is working on.

Dyer and Tissen serve up a treat
In the best fight of the night, SA super-middleweight champion Lee Dyer and Alfonso Tissen served up an entertaining 12-rounder that went to the wire but ultimately resolved nothing.

The bout was scored a draw, although the variance in scores is something only the judges themselves and Einstein himself would be able to explain. One had it even (114-114), another had it 117-109 for Dyer and another had it 116-112 for Tissen.

Lee Dyer, left, a physical marvel at 36, and Alfonso Tissen produce a thriller on the way to a draw on Saturday. Pic: JAMES GRADIDGE

It was a fight that ebbed and flowed between two fighters who pressed hard and never went backwards. For all that, it might have been all over as early as the second round when Tissen banged in a succession of bruising hooks to the body that seemed to stop Dyer in his tracks. The champion visibly wilted, only to recover strongly and set off on his own attack.

It was testament to the pair’s fitness that they set a fast pace and seldom relented as they went after one another. Neither is a big puncher, but they had their moments as they teed off and sought a way to slow down the other.

Proof of the narrow margins was evident on the official scoring after the fourth and eighth rounds with Tissen marginally ahead on a single card and the other two dead even after four rounds. After the eighth, Dyer was ahead 77-75 on two cards with the other judge favouring Tissen by the same margin.

Given the quality of the match and the flamboyant scoring, a rematch seems the obvious way to go.

‘Tulz’ hammers Inson
SA welterweight champion Thulani Mbenge was forced to go the distance for the first time in his career, beating resilient Jay Inson of the Philippines on points over eight rounds – 79-72, 80-71, 80-71.

Mbenge negotiated the step up in class masterfully, beating Inson at will and demonstrating that he will be a handful for anyone in years to come. His punching was razor-sharp and he used his reach to good effect, bamboozling his southpaw opponent with slick lateral movement and fast, dangerous hands.

Thulani Mbenge is all poise as he hammers Jay Inson. Pic: JAMES GRADIDGE

Mbenge had Inson on the canvas in the third and probably should have got him out of there, but the Filipino recovered strongly and was slippery and cautious. There wasn’t a single moment when Mbenge was hurt or even mildly inconvenienced. These will be valuable rounds that add to his experience and he’ll be the better fighter for it.

Tepid Tshabalala wins
In the show opener, light-heavyweight Ricky Tshabalala laboured to a split points win against Benjamin Nhabe over four. Despite possessing superior skills and producing a knockdown, Tshabalala looked strangely off colour and shipped some unnecessary shots on his way to a desultory win.





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