SA junior middleweight champion Mhlongo introduces himself to the middleweight class

Wade Groth and Nkululeko Mhlongo exchange blows in their bout which Mhlongo won by a stoppage in the fifth round at Turffonetyin Racecourse on Saturday.
Wade Groth and Nkululeko Mhlongo exchange blows in their bout which Mhlongo won by a stoppage in the fifth round at Turffonetyin Racecourse on Saturday.
Image: Brain Wysoke

South African junior middleweight champion Nkululeko "Bull Dog" Mhlongo introduced himself to the national middleweight class when he demolished Wade Groth in the fifth round at Turffontein Racecourse in the south of Johannesburg on Saturday.

Mhlongo in the process fired a stern message to national middleweight holder Walter "Black Mamba" Dlamini‚ boldly announcing his designs for the champion's title.

"Walter must keep that belt safe for me. I am coming to fetch it‚" warned Mhlongo.

Dlamini could not be found for comment as the 39 year old veteran is training for an IBO international title fight in Germany on July 6.

Groth‚ who was making a return since being demolished in 46 seconds by Dlamini‚ started the fight as an aggressor putting together combinations while Mhlongo was still trying to find his footing.

The best way to get the better of Mhlongo‚ who is a natural slow starter‚ is to throw an avalanche of punches early in the fight because once he warms up‚ he becomes unstoppable.

It was the case on Saturday and two rounds were enough to warm him up.

Trouble began in round three when he pushed Groth backwards with stabbing jabs partnered by ramrod straight rights‚ jolting his opponent's head violently.

Veteran referee Sazi Xamlashe aptly stopped the brutality in round five when Groth was unable to defend himself from an avalanche of heavy blows that were fired by Mhlongo.

The one-sided fight headlined Free-state-based Dream Team's maiden tourney in Johannesburg.

Mhlongo from Eshowe in KwaZulu Natal is trained in Johannesburg by Vusi Mtolo while Mahoko promotes the boxer.

Mhlongo has already defended his title five times and is only waiting for Boxing SA to award him the championship belt outright after the required number of defences.

Mhlongo has not hidden desire for the middleweight belt.

But the rules prevent him from going straight into challenging the champion.

He has to fight three times in his new weight division to be eligible to challenge for that title.

It is for that reason that Mhlongo chose Groth as his stepping stone with an eye on the middleweight crown.

Groth is a former champion whose reign was cut short by Dlamini in December.

Victory on Saturday evening will earn Mhlongo a top 10 rating in the middleweight division.

Other results:

Flyweight: Sihle Jelwane beat Percy Mkhize TKO 3

Junior bantamweight: Lyton Gloss beat Siyabonga Mpangele TKO 2

Junior middleweight (4 rounds): Jackson Kaptein beat Lucky Lefuna on points

Middleweight (4 rounds): Vuya ni Kasana beat Sydney Ntsemi on points

Feamle featherweight: Matshidiso Mokebisi beat Sindisiwe Ncube TKO 5

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