THANDO Vukuza was impressive last weekend when he outclassed Manelisi Mbilase. But his split points win over 12 rounds failed to erase memories of the loony decision Vukuza received in his fight against Mbilase last October.
Judges Simphiwe Mbini and Andile Matika could be forgiven for scoring the fight 115-114 and 116-114 for Vukuza - at least they voted for the right man.
Their colleague Lulama Mtya should be ashamed of himself for scoring it 116-114 in favour of Mbilase. That denied Vukuza a deserved unanimous points decision.
About three weeks ago, Mtya's judging left him in the lurch when he scored the fight between Lovemore Ndou and Phillip Ndou 116-114 for Lovemore.
Fellow judges Deon Dwarte from Cape Town and Bruce McTavish from the Philippines scored it 116-112 and 117-111, respectively, for Lovemore.
Mbilase looked to have won three rounds only on Friday night.
Last October, the "Slugger", as Vukuza from Duncan Village is nicknamed, did everything right, including knocking Mbilase down in rounds 10 and 12, but shockingly, a clearly vanquished Mbilase was voted the winner by two judges while their colleague voted for Vukuza.
Mbilase, from Mdantsane, won the SA junior featherweight belt via a split decision. But his reign ended last week.
The sad thing about Vukuza's victory is that the scorecards did not reflect the complexion of the fight at East London's Orient Theatre. But trainer Welsh Mnguni was delighted.
"Vukuza had an injury two weeks ago. His left thumb shifted, we put it back and we did not take it seriously, but it started giving him trouble from the third round. Otherwise we would have taken Mbilase to the trenches," said the owner of Gompo gym in Duncan Village.
Mnguni trained fighters at the famed Eyethu Boxing Gym of his uncle, Mzimase Mnguni, in Mdantsane. He went solo in 1999. Welsh's first national champion was Nkqubela Gwazela, who won the national flyweight belt from Ncedo Cecane in 2003.
Welsh, who parted ways with Gwazela, has since then been trying to produce another national champion.