Already touted as a hot prospect, Thulani Mbenge last night duly won his first title with a crushing fourth-round win over unbeaten Eric Kapia Mukadi at Emperors Palace.
Headlining a fight card for the first time, the dazzling Sean Smith protégé was all class as he attacked the head and body and slowly dismantled the challenge of the man from DRC to win the ABU belt. Mukadi was under severe fire in the fourth when he waved his arm in surrender, later pointing to what appeared to be a problem with his ankle.
No matter. Mbenge was at his very best, unleashing his potent right hand at will to neutralise Mukadi’s attack. Despite having just eight pro fights, Mbenge already looks like a seasoned fighter who could well dominate the local scene for years to come.
On a night when the action was red-hot and Emperors was packed to capacity, cruiserweight Johnny Muller produced a dominant performance, outclassing brave Herman Potgieter inside two rounds. Potgieter came out with good intent and troubled Muller with some meaty right hands, but the more experienced boxer soaked it up, found his range and then started dropping bombs of his own.
Muller put Potgieter over after landing a salvo of punches to the head. The youngster rose on unsteady legs, only to find himself under heavy bombardment again. As punches reined in and Potgieter looked ready to go again, referee Jaap van Niewenhuizen called off the action.
With “Christmas Cracker” designed to showcase young talent, that’s exactly what happened as fast-handed southpaw Lucky Monyebane won a four-rounder over Bheki Mahlangu (junior-lightweight), despite losing a point for butting. Light-heavyweight Rowan Campbell also entered the win column by winning his debut against southpaw Gabriel Mngadi. Campbell, with the crowd roaring him on, teed off from the start and earned quick dividends, a high right hand sending Mngadi to the deck. A succession of big punches soon followed and Wally Snowball promptly waved it off in the opening round.
Junior-middleweight Nathan Hammond was stretched by Mandla Mpofu, but pulled out a four-round majority draw to maintain his unbeaten status.
Earlier, Sebastian Rothmann’s prospect, Jabulani Makhense, was too good for Kalela Kaduma, winning via second-round TKO.