Marali slips and slides to victory

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Zolani Marali prevailed under difficult conditions last weekend to retain his WBF junior featherweight title after outpointing Columbian Hevinson Herrera.

The branding of the ring, which was painted, impacted negatively on the proceedings and made the fight a scrappy affair.

The two gladiators were slipping and sliding around the ring. They traded few punches and wasted quality time in clinches.

Referee Siphiwo Mbini, who almost went down after he slipped, allowed fouls such as rabbit punching, holding and hitting, and pressing down, to go unpunished.

The slippery canvas affected Marali enormously. It spoilt his game plan of taking the fight to the challenger.

The skeletal East Londoner, who made his debut under new trainer Nick Durandt, had to fight from the back foot and that made the "Untouchable" susceptible to counter punches. Marali was cornered and floored in the sixth round.

It seemed more of a slip than a punch.

Marali slipped and went down twice in rounds eight and 10, while Herrera also visited the floor after he slipped in round 11.

Meanwhile, Mlungisi "The Shark" Dlamini pulverised the flabby Argentinian, Ivan Orlando Bustos, in five rounds to win the vacant WBF lightweight belt earlier on.