baloyi just kept coming

FAMILIAR FEELING: New champion Malcom Klassen. 19/04/2009. Pic. Antonio Muchave. © Sowetan.
FAMILIAR FEELING: New champion Malcom Klassen. 19/04/2009. Pic. Antonio Muchave. © Sowetan.

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

"I hit him so hard that my right hand is sore - he had kept coming back," newly crowned IBF junior lightweight king Malcolm "The Stone" Klassen says of deposed ruler and stable mate Cassius "Hitman" Bloyi.

"I thought he would give up early. Cas has guts," said Klassen, who ended Baloyi's reign last Saturday with a brutal seventh-round stoppage at the University of North West in Mafikeng.

This unprecedented fight topped the Branco Sports Production bill of promoters Branco Milenkovic and Jacob Matlala. It was dubbed "Pride of South Africa".

Klassen, 26, from Toekomsrus, in Randfontein, and Baloyi, 34 from Giyani, are under the same roof at trainer-manager Nick Durandt's stable in Bree Street, downtown Johannesburg. Durandt mastered Baloyi's corner because they had been together for many years.

Klassen joined that establishment a year ago. He picked the unfashionable Gert Strydom, who helped Klassen to win the same belt from Australian Gary St Clair in 2007. Strydom invited Benny Pailman to assist in the corner. The trio had a good understanding last Saturday.

To illustrate that, Baloyi, realised that Klassen left himself open when he threw jabs, and Baloyi cleverly countered with his right.

Strydom and Pailman picked that up quickly, and they instructed Klassen to feint that jab, allow Baloyi to commit, and counter with a left hook. He did as told and Baloyi got confused, thus allowing Klassen to work himself inside where he pummelled Baloyi with damaging blows to the liver.

"Cas is a great fighter but I am the best," said Klassen, who has the makings of a great fighter .

Milenkovic said their next target is WBC champ Armando Humberto Soto or the WBA's Jorge Linares.

"The priority is Soto because he had already offered us the chance with Baloyi. We will renegotiate our deal after his defence on May 13," he said adding that he will give Baloyi three weeks to relax and plan the future.