Malcolm Klassen knocked out Xolani Mcotheli in the tenth round in East London on Friday night but came away without the IBO intercontinental super-featherweight title.
The 34-year-old veteran had weighed in over the limit and the title remains vacant, despite his convincing victory over the younger, faster and outclassed Mcotheli.
Klassen, still a good craftsman, used his skills and experience to dictate matters for most of the first half of the fight. Mcotheli then started testing his opponent’s fitness, even though he clearly has much to learn about defence.
After taking a solid right to the jaw early in the tenth round, Klassen promptly returned the compliment and knocked the fight out of the local favourite. Two copybook left hooks and a right-hand clincher completed the evening’s entertainment at the Orient Theatre.
The bout ended 2 minutes and 5 seconds into the tenth round, with Klassen improving his record to 30-6, with two draws and 16 wins inside the distance. Mcotheli’s dropped to 11-2, including eight shortcut victories.
Klassen’s skills and experience – he has been a professional since 1999 – showed why he had held the SA featherweight, WBF super-featherweight, WBO international lightweight and IBF super-featherweight titles.
He lost three times early in his career but his other defeats were in title fights against Mzonke Fana, Roberto Guerrero and Will Tomlinson.
The enthusiastic crowd at the well-attended Xaba Promotions tournament also saw an entertaining fight when Macbute Sinyabi came away with a split-decision victory over Randy Braga from the Philippines to take the vacant IBO intercontinental featherweight title.
Sinyabi, a former SA featherweight champion, won 116-113 and 115-113 on two cards lost 113-115 on the third.
Braga, at a reach disadvantage against the tall South African, soon showed that he was not one of the take-the-money-and-leave imports that sometimes come to South Africa.
The attacking southpaw’s hand speed and variety of punches troubled Sinyabi throughout but he fell just short of victory.
Sinyabi improved his record to 31-3, with 19 wins inside the distance. Braga’s dropped to 14-1, with one draw and three shortcut wins.
Earlier, Tsiko Mulovhedzi impressed in stopping Mzolisi Yoyo 2 minutes and 7 seconds into the fifth round to retain his SA welterweight title.
The 28-year-old from Limpopo, making the fourth defence of the title, showed confidence and power as he dismantled the former SA super-lightweight champion.
Yoyo, 37, lost for the seventh time in 29 professional bouts and Mulovhedzi improved to 9-7, with three drawn and five shortcut wins.