Malinga licks his wounds

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Trainer Jabulani Malinga said they would regroup after his son, Vus'Umuzi, failed to dethrone Hozumi Hasegawa of his WBC bantamweight title in Japan last week.

Malinga was stopped in the first round.

"We will bounce back very strong," Jabulani promised yesterday. "I am happy that Vusi did not take punishment, so there is nothing to worry about."

Jabulani said the treatment they got in Japan was superb. His only gripe was the failure by the Japanese to provide him with an electronic scale.

"Vusi was under the limit of 53,55kg when we left last week. Even after having his meal [before the weigh-in] he was still underweight at 52,30kg," he said, making it clear that he was unable to monitor his son's weight.

But that is a feeble excuse. He also said the first knockdown was a push.

"Vusi's mistake was to get up and go straight into war after the second knockdown. He is not used to falling. That is how we got caught again and the referee stopped the fight," he said.

Malinga, 29, suffered his first stoppage in three defeats against 18 wins (11 KOs). He was not available for comment yesterday.

At least he got paid about R500000 for his efforts.

Malinga's promoter Branco Milenkovic said he was disappointed.

"We all knew that he would have a tough fight but nobody could imagine that the fight could end in the first round. Hasegawa knew Vusi is a slow starter and knocked him down and he never recovered," he said of the fight that took place at World Memorial Hall in Kobe.