defying time

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Newly crowned International Boxing Organisation (IBO) junior bantamweight champion Zolile "Bone Crusher" Mbityi last weekend boxed his way to fame and fortune.

This 37-year-old former Cape, SA and IBO flyweight champion, who holds the SA junior bantamweight belt, won the vacant IBO belt against Masibulele Makepula.

Pastor Makepula's spirit was still willing but the response from his body demonstrated that the curtain had fallen and it was time to quit boxing.

Their fight, which should have taken place five years ago, formed part of the "Fists of Steel" tournament.

Promoter Rodney Berman staged it jointly with Gree Air Conditioners to pay tribute to the legendary Vuyani "The Beast" Bungu who fought devotedly under the Golden Gloves banner for 10 years.

Berman described Mbityi as the "Cinderella Man" of local boxing and made it clear that Mbityi would now enjoy the fruits of his labour. He said Mbityi was a revelation on Saturday night.

"Let's not forget that his previous world championship crown was the IBO flyweight title that he captured back in 1999."

Mbityi was supremely conditioned and was the busier throughout the 12 rounds, which he fought on the back foot.

This soft-spoken gladiator is trained by Dudu Bungu at the famed Eyethu Boxing gym of manager Mzimase Mnguni.

Meanwhile Makepula, the Bible-punching pastor, wants a rematch, going back on his decision to call it quits.

"Neither fighter did enough to win so we must do it again, but preferably back home in the Eastern Cape," he said.

"There is conflict about the verdict," added Makepula, who impressed judge Ace Makaluza who he scored the fight 116-115, while Vaughan Loughlin and Tony Coyle (both from the UK) scored it 116-113 and 115-113 for Mbityi.