Revival in KZN boxing

KWAZULU-NATAL, the sleeping giant of South African boxing, has awoken, according to Loyiso Mtya, Boxing SA's acting chief.

He was reacting to the successful world championship that took place at the ICC in Durban on Saturday night.

The IBO flyweight championship between newly crowned champion, Moruti "Baby Face" Mthalane and equally competitive opponent Jether "General" Oliva from the Philippines was the first of its magnitude in the city since 1998.

The tournament on Saturday night, in front of a big crowd at the imposing 5000-seat venue, was staged by Ludonga Boxing Promotions of Thulani Magudulela.

Mthalane, from Lindelani in Durban, had not fought at home since 2003. He defeated Oliva, a former amateur star, via a split points decision. Mtya was a ringside guest.

"KwaZulu-Natal proved that, given time, it can reclaim its good old days of hosting big boxing event," he said yesterday. "It has the venue, promoters, boxers and the infrastructure. The sleeping giant has awoken."

Mtya described the energy-sapping 12- rounder between Mthalane and Oliva as "one hell of a fight".

"Mthalane fought a pure world-class boxer."