On a night of excellent boxing and solid match-ups, Warren Joubert was crowned SA junior-welterweight king after dominating game challenger Lungisa Jukani at Emperors Palace on Monday night.
In a bout that was more chess match than boxing match, Joubert’s superior technical skills were enough to subdue Jikani’s gallant efforts. Neither had the power to hurt each other, so it came down to a contest between two pure boxers. Despite losing by wide margins – 118-110, 119-110, 118-109 – Jikani was never outhustled and frequently stood toe to toe in an effort to win the vacant belt.
There was a curious conclusion to cruiserweight Johnny Muller’s rematch with Donald Kampamba of Zambia. The South African was well in control, having dropped Kampamba in the first, and sent him sprawling through the ropes in the third, only to promptly help him up. But Muller was then denied an outright KO when the doctor waved the action off due to damage to Kampamba’s eye.
Stablemate Flo Simba, meanwhile, scored his first win in three years as he forced Big Ben Malumba to quit in the fourth round. Fans had to endure a tepid first few minutes as Simba looked rusty with his timing off. Malumba landed a handful of decent punches and looked well in the fight when he was dumped in the third with a big right hand. He was later sent to the canvas again, after which he shook his head and signalled that he had had enough.
In probably the best bout of the night, Kazakh visitor Roman Zhailaouv pounded on late sub Willis Baloyi for six rounds, winning a decision (58-53, 56-54, 56-54). Baloyi was too gutsy for his own good and withstood a barrage of punishment, notably in the sixth when he ate up one savage uppercut after the next. It wasn’t for nought, though, with promoters Jeff Ellis and Rodney Berman stumping up an additional R2000 cash on account of his all-out efforts.
Zhailaouv, still just 20, was reminiscent of a young Gennady Golovkin as he planted his feet and mounted strong attacks to body and head. Like his famous countryman, he was prepared to take a few shots to deliver his own and the result was a crowd-pleasing effort that bodes well for the visitor, now 14-0. His return for another fight in SA in June will be eagerly awaited.
Later, Paul Kamanga and Stone can Aswegen produced an intriguing clash over eight rounds. Although Van Aswegen lost a shutout (80-71 on all three cards) he was highly competitive and made Kamanga work. More than that, in the first he stunned Kamanga with a big right hand, showing he wasn’t overawed by the heralded youngster, who moves to 15-0.
But Kamanga boxed smartly for most of the bout and was busier, being rewarded in the sixth when a couple of smashing lefts sent Van Aswegen to the deck. Even so, the trouble for Kamanga is an absence of real punching power, which could become an issue when he steps up.
In the show opener, junior-flyweight Deejay Kriel was comfortably in charge against Clever Modingi, dropping him in the second and dominating him before Modingi’s corner threw the towel in during the third round. It’s early days still, but Kriel looks like a solid prospect worth keeping an eye on.