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South Africa's hopes of producing a World Boxing Council (WBC) champion were dashed yesterday when Hozumi Hasegawa stopped Vus'Umuzi Malinga in the first round.
Japanese boxing writer Joe Koizumi said Hasegawa floored Malinga with fast combinations three times en route to a quick stoppage at 2 minutes and 37 seconds. They fought for Hasegawa's WBC bantamweight belt.
The Japanese champion enjoyed home advantage at World Memorial Hall in Kobe in the battle of left handers.
Vus'Umuzi's promoter Branco Milenkovic was at ringside in Japan. He said the champion jumped on Malinga from the opening bell and pulverised him until the fight was stopped.
Vus'Umuzi's corner is mastered by trainer and father Jabulani Malinga. "Marvelous" suffered his first stoppage in two losses with 18 wins (11 KOs) and a draw.
Hasegawa, 28, from Nishiwaki, registered an eighth defence. His knockout ratio stands at nine from 25 victories against two defeats. Hasegawa boasts a points win over Simphiwe Vetyeka.
Malinga, 29, from Katlehong in Ekurhuleni, won the rights to challenge with a stunning fourth-round stoppage of Veeraphol Sahaprom last April in Thailand.
Malinga was attempting to continue where his uncle Thulani "Sugarboy" Malinga and Dingaan "The Rose of Soweto" Thobela left off. These former greats are the only local pugilists ever to win the lucrative green and gold WBC belt. Both held the super middleweight strap.
South Africa currently has one world champion with a credible belt, and that is Cassius Baloyi. The "Hitman" holds the International Boxing Federation junior lightweight strap.