Mantengu still fuming over drawn fight with Bonokoane

Cletus Mbele and Innocent Mantengu during their bantamweight clash at Orient Theatre.
Cletus Mbele and Innocent Mantengu during their bantamweight clash at Orient Theatre.
Image: Mark Andrews

Innocent "Tycoon" Mantengu just cannot get over the controversial draw for the vacant SA junior-featherweight belt with Thato "Captain Charisma" Bonokoane at the Kagiso Memorial and Recreation Centre on the West Rand on March 30.

There should have been a winner in their first fight, as per Boxing SA's regulations, which say that if a bout in a vacant championship ends in a draw, each judge shall nominate an overall winner.

Two scorecards went either way and the third and the deciding verdict declared it a draw. BSA then took a decision a week after the fight to allow the two boxers to do it all over again. Team Dida, which staged the first fight, will also be in charge on Friday.

Speaking to Sunday World this week, prior to their rematch on Friday at the same venue as their first clash, Mantengu, a teacher who swapped chalk for boxing gloves, said: "My plea to judges is that they score the fight the way they were taught and not be swayed by noise from fans."

Thato 'Captain Charisma' Bonokoane.
Thato 'Captain Charisma' Bonokoane.
Image: Christo Smith

Mantengu is from Mtubatuba in KwaZulu-Natal while Bonokoane is a local boy.

"We, as boxers, will do our job inside the ring," said Mantengu, who is trained in Johannesburg by his homeboy Samson Ndlovu.

"I will fight the same way I fought in our first fight - take the fight to Thato - to display that I'm superior than him. I won seven rounds clean and I am not worried about the remaining five rounds because I had done enough to win the fight. I am the champion who will be crowned on Friday."

Bonokoane, who is trained by Pius Dipheko, said: "To be honest, Mantengu came out guns blazing, firing volumes of punches in the first six rounds.

"But not all his punches hit the target, it's just that he threw a lot of punches. The complexion of the fight changed from round seven when I began scoring with cleaner and crisp punches. Sparks will fly and we both have to make sure that we live up to expectations. We've got to set the record straight once and for all because some people say Mantengu won while others say I won."

There will be seven more bouts on the day and action will begin at 6pm.

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