Four champions from the Baby Champs development boxing programme graduated to mainstream boxing with flying colours at the weekend.
Anele Makwelo, Vus'umuzi Tyatyeka, Gideon Buthelezi and Sean Santana all justified this programme with brilliant performances.
Makwelo demolished Sibusiso Nqalathi in 2 minutes, 17 seconds into the first round of their junior flyweight fight; Tyatyeka pole-axed Nicholas Modibeng in 2 minutes, 15 seconds, also in the opening round of their lightweight fight.
Then came a historic match that pitted two champs from the programme, Jonas Kgasago and Buthelezi. Kgasago, from Namakgale in Limpopo, is the inaugural champion, while Buthelezi, from Sebokeng, won the title last year.
On Friday they fought for the SA mini-flyweight belt which was held by Kgasago. Their fight pitted top trainers Nick Durandt and Johnny du Plooy in the respective corners.
A fearless Buthelezi went straight into work from the outset, while Kgasago began fighting in the fifth round. Buthelezi continued with his aggression and it was war from the seventh until the ninth round but Buthelezi had the upper hand.
Kgasago started delivering accurate power punches in the 10th round but his work rate was below par. Again, war ensued in the 11th round and Buthelezi came up tops.
Trouble stared Kgasago right in his face going into the 12th and last round. He needed a knockdown to even the scorecards.
But Buthelezi did not give him the opportunity, and by so doing Buthelezi impressed two judges whose scorecards read 116-113 and 115-114, while the third judge's card read 117-113 for Kgasago.
Khaphathe Mphambanyeni, last year's champion in the Baby Champs, gave Peter Mashamaite hell in their gruelling fight, but Mphambanyeni ran out of steam in the seventh round, allowing Mashamaite to walk away with the SA middleweight title.
The fights were promoted by the Branco Sports Production at the Carousel casino.
Meanwhile, at Birchwood Hotel on Friday night, Santana produced the upset of the year and proved yours truly wrong.
With only two wins and a loss, Santana blew Sebastiaan Rothmann, a former SA, WBU and IBO cruiserweight champion, in five rounds. Santana dropped Rothmann twice in the second, once in the fourth, before forcing the stoppage in the fifth round.