By Mesuli Zifo
IN the first leg of the popular Nashua Cruiserweight Super 8 series on June 16 in South Africa the bout involving Zack Mwekassa walked away with the best knockout of the night honours when he destroyed Tshephang Mohale with a two-punch salvo in the first round.
In the second round of the series, modelled on the Super middleweight Super Six Classic, on Saturday night at Emperors Palace, SA, Mwekassa’s clash against Danie Venter again delivered the knockout of the night but this time it was the stocky fighter who saw the stars.
Entering as a favourite not only to beat Venter (15-5, 11 KOs) but to win the series, Mwekassa (13-3, 12 KOs) was his usual aggressive self, firing on all cylinders while Venter who represented SA at Sydney Olympics, used the perimeter of the ring to stay away from the onslaught.
But Venter discovered that Mwekassa could not hurt him and elected to trade behind a probing jab.
The bout featured a heavy exchange of artillery with Venter surprisingly getting the upper hand although Mwekassa never stopped throwing bombs, mostly targeting the midsection of Venter’s elongated body.
In the second round Mwekassa charged with a two punch combo that wobbled Venter along the ropes but the lurch appeared to be more induced by being off balance.
But Mwekassa failed to observe that Venter was still on his senses as he blindly went for the kill only to be countered by a wicked right that flung him backwards as he tried desperately to avoid a knockdown.
He, however, only succeeded to balance himself with his gloves on the canvas to officially take a mandatory eight count.
With all his physical attributes Mwekassa showed that he cannot catch as well as he can pitch, as he staggered to his feet with Venter on hot pursuit and was literally saved by the bell.
The short break between the rounds seemed to have helped Mwekassa to recover as he continued his attack albeit cautiously aware that his deceptively frail-looking foe could crack.
The third round again featured big bombs with Venter’s counter left hook repeatedly missing by inches.
But Mwekassa never gave up as he worked the body with gusto, hoping to break down Venter and the strategy appeared to be working as Venter used a combination of tricks including bending on the waistline to negate the onslaught in the fourth.
With Mwekassa firing away to the body with both hands, Venter’s counter left hook that had been missing the target finally hit home with devastating effect.
The punch exploded on Mwekassa’s unprotected jaw, momentarily freezing him on impact before delivering him on his back to the canvas with a thud that shook the ring.
How he managed to beat the count is still baffling but there was no doubt that he was in no condition to continue as he staggered across the ring dazed.
Referee Jaap Van Niewenhuizen surprisingly allowed him to continue but Venter’s follow up barrage sent him back to the canvas prompting Niewenhuizen to call off the slaughter.
In the second semi-final Thabiso Mchunu (12-1, 10 KOs) again scored a first round stoppage victory over Flo Simba (12-4, 10 KOs) to erase the premature end controversy of their first bout.
There were sad scenes of Mzonke Fana limping back to the dressing room being assisted by his handlers after taking a frightful beating at the hands of the younger Sipho Taliwe (20-2-1, 14 KOs) in their WBC International junior lightweight title clash.
Fana( 31-5, 11KOs) was down twice en route to a unanimous decisions loss with scores of 117-110 twice and 115-113 to likely bring the curtain down on his illustrious boxing career which included sharing the ring with Marco Antonio Barrera and two IBF title reigns.
Hekkie Budler boxed a disciplined fight en route to successfully defending his IBO mini-flyweight crown against Filipino Florante Condes while Ryno Liebenberg picked himself off the canvas in the second round to force a stoppage over Johnny Muller in the ninth round of their IBO All-Africa light heavyweight championship.