blue jaguar roars again

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Anthony Tshehla may be way past his best, but the "Blue Jaguar" still remains a dangerous opponent.

Rising star Thompson Mokwana, with only 12 fights (eight wins and four losses), learnt that the hard way last Thursday.

This skilful youngster, a product of Boxing SA's Baby Champs programme, became Tshehla's 26th victim at Wembley Arena.

Tshehla is a former SA, WBC International and All Africa featherweight and WBA Inter-Continental junior lightweight titlist.

He was taken as a stepping stone simply because this Witbank-based fighter, whose skills have always been honed by his father, Paul, has continually lost to boxers who would not even have qualified to be his sparring partners a few years back.

Tshehla must have realised that he is heading for the scrapheap, and took it upon himself to prove that he still has something left on his arsenal. He beat Mokwana in a split points decision over six rounds. Judges Nick Hotz and Amos Lusenga rightly scored this close fight 57-56 and 58-55 for Tshehla, while Garth Murray got it wrong as he scored it 58-55 for Mokwana.

Mokwana's trainer Manny Fernandez must be kicking himself for taking Tshehla lightly. Fernandez's charge fought hard from the outset and he staggered Tshehla with a left hook to the jaw in two but Tshehla survived. He upped his game in rounds three and four, connecting with cleaner blows, bloodying Mokwana's mouth and nose.

Tshehla hit the deck in five from a body shot, but, again, the never-say-die fighter came back strong in five. It was still anybody's fight at that stage but Tshehla cleverly threw more leather in round six.