By Mesuli Zifo
Veteran heavyweight Francois “White Buffalo” Botha entered the ring for his clash against heavy favorite Flo Simba to the musical escort of Bob Marley’s Buffalo Soldier and after the fight he was triumphantly dancing to the tune following his stunning six rounds stoppage victory at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg, South Africa on Saturday night.
The wealth of experience the former IBF and WBF champion has amassed over the years quickly made a difference against the youngster who only had five amateur fights.
The 21-year-old Simba who was touted as the next big thing to emerge from South Africa, proved how raw he still is as he swung wildly with his punches which Botha had no problem avoiding even at his 42 years age.
Instead Botha would jump in with his two-punch salvo, his right hand hitting home and increasingly making Simba reluctant to initiate the action.
Every time Botha landed, Simba would blindly charge in to retaliate but the veteran would neutralise his attack with expert clinching and pushing.
This strategy gradually disorientated the previously unbeaten youngster as he adopted a waiting game which suited the old man.
Having totally negated Simba’s hand speed and youth advantage, the White Buffalo began to land at will with his right hand wobbling Simba in the fourth round to give the first indication that the bout might just not go the distance.
As expected Simba bravely fought back landing some solid punches while trapping Botha on the ropes but the veteran had no problem riding off most of the swings.
With frustration written all over his face, Simba suddenly resorted to being a left hander in the following round and managed to outfox Botha for a moment.
But Botha had dealt with every trick in his career which included clashes against the likes of Lennox Lewis, Michael Moorer, Mike Tyson and other high profile fighters.
When the sixth round began Botha charged forward and landed a big right hand which buckled Simba’s knees.
Seeing his wounded prey, the White Buffalo gave pursuit and produced a carbon copy of the punch which sent Simba to the ropes and as he tried to hold on for dear life he only managed to stumble and fell as the referee collided with him in his bid to stop the fight.
Simba regained his feet but the referee had seen enough as Botha charged forward for the finish.
“I told everyone who was willing to listen that you cannot buy experience,” said the delighted Botha who basking in his moment of glory with Marley’s Buffalo Soldier blaring in the background.
The loss was the first for Simba in 11 bouts with nine stoppages while Botha scored his 29th stoppage victory in 48 wins, five losses and three draws.
Ring rated IBO super middleweight champion Thomas Oosthuizen was handed a unanimous points decision over veteran William Gare in defence of his crown.
The wide margin of the scorecards (116-112, 117-111 and 119-110) sparked boos from the packed venue when Gare appeared to be the one landing point-scoring blows to Oosthuizen’s fusillade that often ended on the gloves.
Chris Van Heerden appeared to be winning every round in his IBO welterweight title eliminator against nemeses Bongani Mwelase but the judges only saw him winning by 116-112, 115-13 and 116-113 scorecards.
Thabiso Mchunu beat Dannie Venter on points in a cruiserweight calsh.