Rowan Campbell clocks Nicholas Radley out in clash of champions

Rowan Campbell celebrates after winning a match.
Rowan Campbell celebrates after winning a match.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

SA super-middleweight champion Rowan Campbell needed just one punch to turn national light-heavyweight titleholder Nicholas Radley into a strand of cooked spaghetti at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg on Saturday night.

Local hero Campbell weighed in slightly heavier than Cape Town-based Radley for this catchweight contest‚ at 77.5kg to 77.4kg‚ and he looked the stronger of the two from the start.

The taller Radley boxed well from behind his jab and took Campbell’s body shots well‚ but when Campbell landed a clean right to the jaw‚ having lined him up on the ropes‚ it was good night sailor.

Radley teetered like the mast of a yacht in a hurricane and Campbell jumped on him‚ forcing referee Simon Xamlashe to wave it over.

Campbell has had a great year‚ and 2020 looks set to start with a clash against former SA light-heavyweight king Ryno Liebenberg‚ who was ringside to challenge the new young lion.

The Campbell camp say they’ll take the fight if the price is right — that should be a cracker.

The two 4@War junior-middleweight semifinals both delivered excitement‚ with Brandon Thysse and Boyd Allen both scoring stoppage victories to advance to the final in March next year.

Allen and Thysse fought earlier this year‚ with Allen winning by split decision.

But based on the performances on Saturday night‚ Thysse looked the man to beat as he shot down the rising star of Roarke Knapp‚ breaking him down systematically before stopping him in the seventh round.

Thysse dominated the opening two rounds‚ scoring with the jab and landing punishing body blows.

Knapp clawed his way back into the fight over the next three rounds‚ but after that Thysse took control.

In the seventh Thysse dropped Knapp three times to land the victory.

The first knockdown came with a left hook to the jaw and the second with a right uppercut.

But the third followed a glancing blow‚ and Knapp voluntarily went down again. Referee Simon Mokadi waved it over automatically‚ ruling it a knockdown.

It was a brave performance by Thysse‚ who clearly struggled from a blocked nose throughout the fight. His father Andre‚ a former SA super-middleweight champion‚ said he’d been in hospital earlier in the week after coming down with ’flu.

Allen and Truter took a while to get going‚ but they were in the full swing of it in the final 10th round when Allen landed a short right on the inside that turned Truter’s legs to jelly.

Allen made no mistake as he followed up with a barrage‚ including a left hook that landed flush on the chin‚ and referee David van Nieuwenhuizen had no option but to wave it over.

Some felt Truter was ahead on points at the time‚ but two of the three judges had Allen leading.

By now Thysse should have worked out how to handle Allen’s elusive and awkward style of fighting‚ but equally‚ Allen is likely to come with a different game plan.

In the little time he had under trainer Peter Smith‚ Allen has already stopped switch-hitting.

The fight-off for third place between Truter and Knapp could be another thriller.

Ricardo Malajika won a scrappy eighth-round stoppage over Mnqobi Mkhize‚ but he will have to sharpen up his technique if he wants to be a serious prospect.

Malajika has a great eye‚ excellent reflexes and good power for the division‚ and the few times he stood his ground and boxed he looked good.

But Malajika was too wild with his bomb-and-run tactics — he threw too many long-range hooks that missed and left him off-balance.

It’s a bad habit he brought from the amateurs‚ but if he can shed that and develop a calmer‚ more mature style‚ he’ll boost his stock.

Malajika knew he underperformed on the night.

“I’m disappointed with the fight‚” he said.

But he shouldn’t be too down on himself either; many pundits had predicted a Mkhize win‚ but Malajika‚ with all his faults‚ was still too good.