Tuesday, March 28, 2023  |


Sibusiso Bandla beats more experienced Xolisa Magusha to win SA straw weight title

Sibusiso Bandla (left) overcame his more experienced foe to win the national strawweight title. Photo by Droeks Malan
Fighters Network

Heading into his fifth professional outing, Sibusiso Bandla was considered too inexperienced to unseat the reigning South African strawweight champion, Xolisa Magusha. He didn’t let his inexperience discourage him when the two met at the International Convention Centre in East London, South Africa.

Bandla prevailed Saturday night against his more experienced foe to win by unanimous decision by scores of 115-113 on two cards and a rather wide 117-111.

The first round in this battle between two southpaws started with Magusha, known for his two competitive outings against former world titleholder Deejay Kriel, boxing behind the accurate jab that he is known for. Bandla was more aggressive, throwing hooks around Magusha’s guard and landing some flurries to the body.

In the second round all hell broke loose. Magusha was boxing in cruise control when Bandla swiveled his head with a left uppercut followed by a right hook. Magusha was badly hurt and the follow up barrage dumped him on the canvass. He got up on unsteady legs and it looked like it was all over as Bandla piled on the pressure while the referee hovered close to the action. Incredibly, Magusha somehow dug deep and started fighting back, keeping himself in the fight. Just before the bell rang, Bandla landed another salvo that seemed to rock the champion again in an incredible round that had the crowd on their feet.

In the third Magusha survived by jabbing and slipping punches while Bandla was the busier of the two. By the fourth it became clear that Magusha was out of the fog and starting to claw his way back into the fight when he landed a hard southpaw left and some shots on the inside.

From the fifth the pace slowed somewhat and it became a more technical affair with Magusha slipping punches and boxing well behind the jab while Bandla would respond with the odd uppercut or hook to the body in the second half of the round which made for some difficult to score stanzas.

In the ninth Bandla decided to step on the gas and had a good round although Magusha came back with a hard left towards the end of the round.

Knowing that he had to answer, Magusha finally went on the attack in the tenth, a salvo of right hooks putting Bandla on the back foot. Once again, Bandla responded with a right hook, right uppercut combo at the end of the round. Magusha was making Bandla miss in the eleventh although he wasn’t doing much offensively which may have allowed the busier Bandla to steal the round.

Bandla ended the final round with a hard right hook and a flurry before both corners rushed the ring to hoist their fighters shoulder high.

There were those who thought that Magusha had done enough to shade the fight but although he has admirable calm under pressure and boxed well, his offense just seemed a bit stale at times. Perhaps two months was too short a turnaround time after his war with Khuse.

Magusha drops to 13-6-1 (5 knockouts) while Bandla moves his record to 4-0-1 (2 KOs).

In another strawweight battle, Ayanda Dulani unanimously outpointed Loyiso Ngantweni over ten rounds for the African title (ABU) by scores of 96-94, 99-91 and 97-94.

It was mostly a battle of the jabs and the taller Dulani had the edge in that department. Ngantweni was game and managed to get under his opponent’s reach on occasion to land his own jab and force Dulani into exchanges on the ropes where the fight got scrappy but every time that Dulani got some distance between them, he had the edge.

From there he could land the occasional straight right behind the jab. Ngantweni landed some shots of his own in the ninth before Dulani stopped him in his tracks with a left hook.

By the tenth, Dulani’s confidence showed as he danced around the ring, boxing on the fly.

Dulani improves his record to 9-2-1 while Ngantweni drops to 9-15-5.

South African based Congolese junior middleweight prospect, Emmany “The General” Kalombo, once again, stole the show with a brutal stoppage of Angolan, Henriques Lando.

However, it was not only the stoppage that delivered the action. There are weakness in his armor which his very game opponent kept picking away at, landing right hands in almost every exchange.

Not that it helped, as Kalombo landed the crisper, harder shots. He kept snapping Lando’s head back with hooks and uppercuts and often had one of his feet lifting off the canvass when he dug in those body shots.

What kept Lando firing back, only he will know. In the third a left hook, left uppercut followed by a straight right sent his mouth piece flying. When it was replaced, Lando simply started throwing shots at Kalombo with abandon which sparked return fire. The mouthpiece was on its way out again but Lando simply took a step to the side, pushed it back in and went right back at his obviously more powerful foe in a wild round that got a roar out of the crowd.

In the fourth, a straight right-left hook from Kalombo put Lando in a corner only to have him firing back once again. This time, however, Kalombo thankfully closed the show by belting Lando with everything he had, forcing the referee’s intervention.

With the victory, Kalombo scores his 13th consecutive stoppage in as many fights, while Lando drops to 5-1. Kalombo, a huge 154 pounder, has the power and offensive arsenal to make a splash but trainer Damien Durandt, who also trains cruiserweight contender, Ilunga Makabu, will have to close the holes in his defence.

The card was presented by Ayanda Matiti of Xaba Promotions.

Undercard results

Nhlanhla Ngamntwini KO 2 Mzwabantu Mbexeshi (junior bantamweight)

Phumlani Maloni W8 Luyolo Mbobo (strawweight)

Xolisa Bobo TKO 1 Hlomla Goniwe (junior flyweight)

Yamkela Phaliso TKO 1 Abelo Tokwe (featherweight)

Siphenathi Nobande NC1 Thembani Mooi (junior bantamweight, accidental clash of heads)