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AGE is catching up with South Africa's oldest world champion Simphiwe "Golden Master" Nongqayi.
This 37-year-old fighter from the Border Post in East London luckily retained his IBF junior bantamweight belt on Friday.
In fact, this Nick Durandt-trained veteran, who turned professional in 2002, was given that decision purely by virtue of being the champion.
Disappointingly, Nongqayi drew with Malik Bouziane, the No10 contender, who was chosen by promoter Branco Milenkovic as an easy opponent for Nongqayi's voluntary defence.
Milenkovic told Sowetan last week that Nongqayi was supposed to make a mandatory defence against No1 contender Mexican Alberto Rosasa.
But Milenkovic asked the IBF to allow his charge to make a voluntary defence against a chosen opponent and he went for the Frenchman who holds the European title.
The fight was organised jointly by Milenkovic and Euro Box Promotion at Bouziane's hometown of Massy in France.
International reports described the fight as a heated 12-round affair. The two combatants were down once and on both occasions no knockdowns were issued.
Nongqayi and Bouziane, 32, are no punchers of note.
Reports say Nongqayi took first two rounds off to adjust himself to the awkward Frenchman. The South African was the better fighter in rounds three and four.
Furthermore, reports said neither fighter could get the better of each other and it looked like Bouziane did enough to get the final 12th round.
Judges Alfred Asaro from France scored the fight 115-113 for his countryman. Klaus Griesel from Germany and Neville Hotz from South Africa both scored it 114-114.
Nongqayi did not do enough to win the contest. He was just lucky to have a local judge, thanks to Milenkovic who made sure that happened.
Nongqayi remains undefeated after 17 fights with six KOs. Bouziane registered his first draw against 13 wins one KO and a loss.
l Former four-time world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, 47, scored an eighth-round TKO over South African Francois "White Buffalo" Botha, 41, in Las Vegas to claim the WBF heavyweight belt on Saturday night.