Four IBF titles! Four! What a knock-out!

2011-12-23 09:24

Year 2011 would be remembered solely for its display of virtual inebriation, were it not for four boxers who turned corners.

Flyweight Moruti “Baby Face” Mthalane, junior featherweight Takalani “Panther” Ndlovu, junior lightweight Mzonke “The Rose of Khayelitsha” Fana and minimumweight Nkosinathi Joyi made history in the midst of an unstable local boxing scene.

Ndlovu’s win against Canadian Steve Molitor that saw him seize the International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior featherweight crown was a historical feat for South Africa.

His victory added to the three IBF championships the country had already garnered. And so for the first time, , making SA boasted four titles from a credible body.

What a feat.

Unfortunately, Fana was later stripped of his title.

Another accomplishment was that of Noni Tenge who became the first woman on the continent to clinch a world title (IBF welterweight) when she stopped Daniella Smith of New Zealand in round four.

The worst tragedy of the year was the death of Anele Makhwelo (23), five days after his 10th round technical knockout by Doctor Ntsele.

A prolonged and ugly spat with racial connotations that had the potential to damage the name of boxing ensued between then Boxing SA (BSA) board member, Solly Selebi, and top promoter Rodney Berman.

Initially, Selebi had said any promoter who used the services of national broadcaster SABC, “which caters for the poor”, would get support from BSA. His comments antagonised Berman, who is in partnership with SABC rival, SuperSport.

Taking umbrage at Selebi’s “partisanship” and use of the word “poor”, Berman called Selebi a “racist”.

Moffat Qithi, a veritable treasure chest of wisdom, took over as chief executive of BSA, dazzling members of the media with his aspirations.

New promoter Damian Michael stunned the fight fraternity when he staged five World Boxing Federation title fights in his first show.

He even roped in the great ring announcer Michael Buffer of “Let’s get ready to rumble” fame to oversee the proceedings.

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