By Alexey Sukachev
The disastrous downslide for the Hatton family continued tonight at Sandton Convention Center in Johannesburg, South Africa, as local welterweight Chris van Heerden successfully defended his IBO belt against the younger part of the famed English family, outscoring Matthew Hatton over twelve hard-fought rounds to retain his titles. Official scores were: 118-110, 117-112 and 116-112 - for the South African.
The start of the bout was pretty even; the local boy's aggressiveness being equalized by the elder man's precision and negating skills. Hatton then started to deliver more with his counter right hand in the first half of the bout. Van Heerden paid a stiff price for the wilderness of his punches, as he was not only losing rounds but also suffered a bad cut over his right eye in round six. The fight was rather dirty with lots of clinching and holding. Adding to the mishap was referee Howard Foster Jr., who was overly active and annoying with his lectures and morals.
From round seven, van Heerden started to increase his workrate, while Hatton rapidly lost his steam. In rounds eight and nine Hatton was repeatedly hurt by punches of the South African but never was in danger of going down. He caught his second wind in the tenth round and dealt some punishment to his reckless opponent. However, the end of the bout belonged to Van Heerden.
BoxingScene had it 114-114 - a draw. Chris van Heerden, once ranked #11 by the IBF, moves up to 19-1-1, 10 KOs. Hatton is now 43-7-2, with 17 KOs.
In an important match-up between two fading South African veterans, Kaizer Mabuza (25-9-3, 15 KOs) got the better of former IBF welterweight titleholder Isaac Hlatshwayo (30-6-1, 10 KOs), outpointing him over eight rather one-sided rounds. Mabuza, 33, a former IBO light welterweight beltholder, who lost three of his last four, used his relentless agression and pressure to keep his 35-year old opponent on the survival throughout the entire contest. Hlatshwayo, who has dropped his fourth straight and is winless since October 2010, used all his experience to survive the onslaught and did what he had planned to, losing convincingly on all the judges' scorecards. Scores were: 78-74, 79-74 and 79-73 - for Kaizer Mabuza.