'The General' survives a knockout
Newly crowned WBF Intercontinental junior middleweight Emmany "The General" Kalombo and his trainer Damien Durandt concurred that the punch that dropped Kalombo in the first round was an official punch.
The two believe referee Eddie Marshall should have counted in favour of Nkululeko "Bull Dog" Mhlongo during the bout on Friday night.
It was picture-perfect short right to the jaw.
It sent Kalombo tumbling down, but the vastly experienced referee did not count.
Instead, Cape Town-based Marshall, 67, just cleaned Kalombo's gloves, as per norm in boxing, and ordered the two boxers to box on.
"He caught me clean and I did not see the punch coming. I don't know why the referee did not count, but that worked in my favour," said Kalombo.
Durandt, the son of late top trainer Nick Durandt, added: "It was definitely a legitimate knockdown. My man got up and that is what matters for me. He came back to do the goods. I also knew that once Kalombo lands with his power punches, Mhlongo will go down."
The eagerly awaited bout, dubbed "Unstoppable", was enthralling. It headlined the eight-bout card of Real Steel at Edenvale Community Centre.
Kalombo, 27, from the DRC, improved to nine knockouts in nine wins, while Mhlongo suffered his first knockout loss in sixth defeats against 16 wins.
Mhlongo was not available to comment yesterday but his promoter Lebo Mahoko warned that his charge would bounce back.
Mahoko was baffled by Kalombo's size, power and physique. "He looked small during the weigh-in on Thursday. I just could not believe it was the same big, strong man in the ring with Mhlongo."
Durandt's other charge, Jackson Chauke, was too fast and furious for Sihle Jelwane, who turned his back in the fourth round of their WBF International flyweight bout.