Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Malcolm Klassen marked out the boundary in the trench warfare against Cassius Baloyi on Saturday night in Mafikeng.

"The Stone", guided by unfancied trainers, Gert Strydom and Benny Pailman, ended Baloyi's reign as the IBF junior lightweight holder in seven rounds.

Baloyi was such a hot favourite, after trainer Nick Durandt boldly predicted last week that it will be Baloyi in the unification bout with WBC Armando Humberto Soto before the end of the year.

"Don't worry Malcolm. I will brush you up after your defeat and bring you back. For now forget about winning the IBF belt. You will be Cassius' sparring partner when he prepares for Soto."

Klassen, who is notorious for trash talk before his fights, said he could not say bad things about Cas', his stable mate, a friend and brother.

"But I am prepared to say... and the new IBF champion".

In your dreams, responded Durandt. Baloyi, the gentle giant, softly said he would show that he is one of the best fighters. Durandt quickly corrected him, saying: "you are not one but the best".

But Klassen had the last laugh. He kept his promise and produced an upset. Klassen did so in 2007 winning the same belt from Gary St Clair. This Australian had won it from Baloyi.

This time, Klassen, did it in splendour, stopping South Africa's most decorated fighter, the former six times world champion in three different weight divisions, who had to be rescued in two minutes and 42 seconds.

Baloyi, 34, from Giyani, lost all the glory when he should retained his dignity to retire in his corner (by not responding to the bell). He This was his first stoppage since 1994 and fourth defeat against 36 wins (19 kos).

Klassen, 26, from Toekomsrus, improved to 13 stoppages in 23 victories against four losses. Klassen gave Baloyi punishment second to none.

Klassen worked Baloyi's body from the first round, reducing his stamina and balance but he came back strong in two, the only round he won.

Klassen regained his motivation in three, dictating terms. Fighting in his only third world title fight against Baloyi's 24 world title clashes.

Confusion was all over Baloyi's face in four. He lost his composure and began fighting with his heart, going forward artlessly.

Klassen, slightly shorter, cleverly, put his head on Baloyi's navel, reducing his reach. Baloyi got more confused. He looked to referee Sammy Williams for intervention but the American recognised Klassen was still within the rules.

Then Klassen, younger and stronger, launched a total onslaught in seven - the rest was history.

Though stablemates Durandt chose to man Baloyi's corner while Klassen picked Strydom for this historic fight - the first such for a world title.