Sibiya likely to hang up his gloves

Phila Mpontshane tags Koos Sibiya with a left in the successful defence of his SA title on Sunday.
Phila Mpontshane tags Koos Sibiya with a left in the successful defence of his SA title on Sunday.

Koos "The Great Last Warrior" Sibiya has virtually brought to an end his illustrious professional boxing career, which spanned almost two decades.

The former WBF Africa and ABU junior-lightweight champion from Mpumalanga, who spent three years as an amateur before he turned professional in 2000, pointed out that he's turning 38 next month.

Sibiya hinted about his future yesterday, reacting to his failure on Sunday to dethrone SA champion Phila Mpontshane at Nangoza Jebe Hall in Port Elizabeth.

"I would not want to go out of boxing paralysed," he said, displaying a great deal of maturity.

Sibiya is wary that many boxers overstayed their welcome in the sport and paid a heavy price.

Some suffer from punch-drunk syndrome, a condition often seen in boxers and alcoholics.

Medical practitioners have discovered that it's caused by repeated cerebral concussions and characterised by weakness in the lower limbs, unsteadiness of gait, slowness of muscular movement, hand tremors, hesitancy of speech and mental dullness.

Sibiya, who failed in his first attempt to become a South African champion in 2005 against then junior-featherweight champion Zolani Marali, added that "people may say I still have what it takes but it is me who knows and understands myself better. I appreciate what boxing has done for me; I will sit down for a month and reflect".

Sibiya, who is trained in Westbury in Johannesburg by Bernie Pailman, has boxed 246 rounds in the pro ranks with 21 wins in 37 fights.

Regarding the fight on Sunday, Sibiya said: "I am pleased with my performance. Phila came with a different plan; he threw bombs and he cleverly avoided my jab."

Sibiya and Mpontshane finished their bout with cuts due to an accidental clash of heads.

Mpontshane's wound was very bad.

A river of blood above his left eye was flowing freely right into his eye but like a true champion, he soldiered on until the last minute of the bout.

The scores of the two judges who voted Mpontshane the winner (116-112 and 115-113) gave a true reflection of what happened inside the ring, but their colleague who scored the fight 119-109 must have been smoking his socks.

The margin means that Mpontshanae lost only one round, while Sibiya lost 11 rounds.

Luckily, for that judge there is no grading system for officials here, and there is also no accountability.

This bout, which was staged by Rumble Africa Promotions, was live on SuperSport.

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