Mchunu rock solid in the ring

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

A new star was born last Friday night - and his name is Thabiso "The Rock" Mchunu.

This 19-year-old fighter from KwaXimba, Cato Ridge in Pietermaritzburg, is a champion of Boxing SA's 2007 Baby Champs tournament.

On Friday he added the South African cruiserweight title to his cabinet after dismissing Patrick Madzinga in nine rounds at the Finetown Community Centre in Grassmere, south of Johannesburg.

Mchunu improved his knockout ration to three from four wins in as many fights.

He could have ended the fruitless career of Madzinga. The 36-year-old veteran from Western Cape has never won any silverware since being in the fight business for almost 15 years. It was his fourth failed attempt last Friday to win the South African title, and he suffered his 13th defeat from 23 fights.

Their one-sided fight topped the five-bout programme of Future Boxing Promotions, which was jointly promoted by Reggie Hilmer and Gavin Hope, the SABC and City of Johannesburg in region G. Full marks for the organisers who let in about 200 school kids free of charge.

They were into it that some were seen sizing each other up after witnessing Mchunu doing what came naturally.

He had no problem getting on the inside despite being the shorter. Mchunu enjoyed himself, showed wonderful reflexes, and changed direction and his stance from orthodox to southpaw with ease. He also showed very good hand speed. But he may have been a bit too calculated and cautious, to s degree.

Madzinga's approach to the fight did not reflect his hunger to win even a single round.

A flurry of punches in the ninth sent him down on his knees and it was all over - bar the shouting - in two minutes and six seconds of the round.

Meanwhile, Marcel Japhta was made to sweat blood before winning the Gauteng featherweight title. "Lights Out" from Westbury, a 2006 title holder in the Baby Champs, outpointed the tough and very elusive Edward "Spoiler" Mpofu, over 10 actioned-packed rounds.

Japtha, a novice of only nine fights, with eight wins and one loss, eventually handled Mpofu's awkwardness and emerged victorious.

Mpofu, a former SA junior featherweight champion, suffered his 10th defeat from 20 fights. It was Japhta's determination and superb conditioning that kept him going. Neither fighter hit the deck.

Earlier on Ronald Parks drew a fight he appeared to have won against Loyiso Ngantweni. Parks' threw volumes of punches while Ngantweni was content to throw one punch at a time on the counter-attack.