Miya and Cafu can't wait for another thriller in the ring
What a pity... there was no title at stake today, remarked Fana Tshabalala, a greenhorn in the promotion of professional boxing, at the end of the fiercely contested non-title 10-rounder between Zolile Miya and Phumelela Cafu on Sunday.
The boxers' conduct inside the ring at KwaThema Civic Centre, Springs, had fans biting their nails throughout. It was a topsy-turvy affair which stands a good chance of being nominated for 2019 Boxing SA Fight of the Year Award.
It had everything you were looking for except the knockdowns. Referee Sazi Xamlashe did not interfere with the action; he gave the two gladiators space to express themselves - much to the ululation and whistles from the appreciative big crowd.
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Miya and Cafu went hammer and tongs until lights went out in the eighth round. The 10 minutes break did not deter them from continuing where they had left off when power was restored.
They showed superior mental and physical preparedness, and credit to trainers Lucky Ramagole and Mzamo Mapetla.
Some years back, fans would throw coins inside the ring in appreciation of what they had been given for their hard-earned cash they paid at the door.
Judge Namhla Tyuluba scored it 96-94 for Cafu, while Dawn Bensch scored it 97-93 for Miya. Ben Ncapayi's deciding score declared it a draw at 95-95.
Sad Tshabalala: "These guys will do it all over again in our next tournament on September 26. If we can have such action continuously in non-title fights, nothing will stop us as a country in producing world champions. You give these guys an SA title and I tell you now that the winner will go all the way to become a world champion."
Miya from Orlando, Soweto, said: "I believe I won the fight. I cannot wait for the rematch." Mdantsane-based Cafu said: "I totally disagree with him when he says he won the fight. I, too, can't wait for a rematch."
Meanwhile, Smangele Hadebe won her first fight at home, although she had to dig deeper in reserve against lionhearted Siphosethu Nxazonke from East London, over six rounds in the male section. Nontuthuzelo Cithani was also given the run for her victory by Winnie Sithole in another female bout over four rounds.
Mxolisi Nombewu and Sibusiso Twani fought to a draw after six closely contested rounds, while Bongani Mahlangu outpointed Sthembiso Maduna over eight rounds. Tumelo Matsane outpointed Masande Masenwage over four rounds.