Ryno Liebenberg won the vacant IBO All-Africa light-heavyweight title when he stopped Johnny Muller at Emperors Palace, Kempton Park, on Saturday night.
Liebenberg won the crowd-pleasing bout in the ninth round after surviving a second-round knockdown.
In a card marked by high-voltage action in the Super 8 cruiserweight semifinals, and a thoroughly professional performance by IBO champion Hekkie Budler, the two light-heavyweights contributed handsomely to the value the spectators received for their money.
Both came into the ring in excellent condition, in a positive frame of mind and showing good skills, despite relatively short professional careers.
Muller, a former SA light-heavyweight champion, showed his power when he knocked down Liebenberg in the second round by landing a solid right and a powerful left.
Liebenberg repaid the compliment in the fifth when Muller had to listen to referee Ace Makeluza counting.
The two, showing potential to draw a big crowd to a rematch, turned the bout into a ding-dong battle that had their supporters standing on their chairs.
The fight was stopped after 2 minutes and 43 seconds of the ninth round when the taller Liebenberg landed a telling right uppercut. He poured another series of blows over Muller, who was unable to get out of the tight spot against the ropes.
Mullers professional record dropped to 11-2-2, including 8 knockouts. But he has enough potential to build a good career in the ring.
Liebenberg is now unbeaten after nine fights since turning professional in July 2010. He won six inside the distance. He is still a rough diamond but has the potential to go far.
All the fights of the tournament, presented by by Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves Promotions, were broadcast live on SuperSport.