By Edward Chaykovsky
The third time is the charm! The crowd erupted when Takalani Ndlovu (32-6, 18 KOs) was announced as the winner, capturing the IBF junior featherweight title from Steve Molitor (33-2, 12 KOs) in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was the third meeting between the two boxers, with Molitor easily winning their two previous encounters. Judges Alfred Buqwana, Alan Davis and Valerie Dorsett scored the fight 118-110, 116-112 and 118-110 respectively.
Ndlovu came in with a plan, and used it to outbox the champion from the start. Molitor was stunned in the second round, at which point he began to avoid heated exchanges with the challenger. Ndlovu used his reach advantage to get off first with his punches. In the sixth, Molitor was stunned again, but managed to hold on. He was never able to gain the upper hand in the contest and allowed Ndlovu to lead the fight as the more aggressive man.
In the co-main event, Moruti Mthalane (27-2, 18 KOs) retained his IBF flyweight crown when he beat Johnriel Casimero (14-2, 8 KOs) by TKO in the fifth round. The fight was a war from the first round with both boxers trading big punches. Casimero began to fade as the high pace continued, round by round, and had enough when the champion wore him down with bigger shots in the fifth.