Tuesday, October 03, 2023  |



Sivenathi Nontshinga outboxes Regie Suganob, retains IBF junior flyweight title

Photo by Droeks Malan
Fighters Network

Sivenathi Nontshinga retained his IBF junior flyweight title against Regie Suganob in front of his adoring fans Sunday afternoon at the International Convention Centre in East London, South Africa.

Nontshinga turned back a spirited effort from the mandatory challenger from the Philippines, triumphing by unanimous scores of 117-110 and two identical cards of 116-111.

In a battle between unbeaten fighters, it was quality boxing for all 12 rounds. Suganob started the fight by coming forward, looking for his trademark right. Nontshinga had that punch well scouted, circling to his right, avoiding the shot. Suganob elected to go to the body instead and Nonsthinga responded with a combination of his own, ending with a left hook to the body. Then, suddenly, the champion nailed Suganob with a perfect right on the jaw that dropped him to the canvas. He was up and took the mandatory eight count. Before Nontshinga could launch a follow up attack, the bell rang, ending the first round.

That effectively set the pattern for the fight. Suganob kept coming after Nontshinga, but his jab wasn’t working. Neither was his right which sailed past or went over Nontshinga’s head.

In the third, the champion started to unpack his jab, having sporadic success with it. Suganob landed a hard left hook to the body but when he once again, launched his right, Nontshinga deftly side stepped while Suganob almost fell through the ropes. Nontshinga landed a lead uppercut, Suganob responded by going to the body and then Nontshinga nailed him with a right moments later.

Every time Suganob had Nontshinga on the ropes, he tried his best to barrage to the head and body, but each time Nontshinga either slid out of the side door to his right or ducked low and turned his opponent around. He nailed Suganob with a right uppercut-left hook combination after one such turnaround in the fourth round.

There were big exchanges in the fifth with Suganob managing to land a left hook and finally, his right, possibly winning the round.

Nontshinga responded with a good sixth round, spinning himself out of the way of a Suganob surge while landing his left hook, peppering his opponent with a double jab, and smashing in a right hand left-hook combination moments later. Suganob landed a left hook but then ate a crisp Nontshinga right for his trouble.

The challenger was always dangerous and had a resurgence in the next two rounds, forcing Nontshinga to hold for the first time after landing a right and barraging to the body.

The trouble was that he had no plan B. He wasn’t allowed to be the ring general as he is used to and seemed unable to adjust. He would jump in guns blazing to the head and body but typically, out of a four-punch combination, only the last punch would land as it grazed an ever-moving Nontshinga.

By the ninth, Nontshinga was back in control with his clever boxing. Suganob landed a right with Nontshinga backed to the ropes, only to get turned around and shoe-shined by the champion. Then he backed Nontshinga to the ropes again, only for everything to miss as his opponent slipped sideways out of harm’s way.

Nontshinga kept moving and pot shotting an ever more desperate Suganob. He ended the fight in style in the twelfth by landing a pair of one-twos, a big right, followed by a flurry to the body and then back pedaling his way to the final bell.  Suganob beckoned him to stand his ground, but Nontshinga wasn’t taking the bait.

The crowd erupted in celebrations and the scores of 117-110 and two cards of 116-111, came as no surprise. With the win, Nontshinga moves to 12-0 with nine knockouts while Suganob drops to 13-1.

In the main supporting bout, unheralded journeyman George Kandulo scored a shocking upset, knocking out Nonhlanhla Tyirha in the sixth round of a scheduled ten round junior flyweight bout.

Tyirha was supposed to fight Lito Dante from the Philippines but when that fight fell through because of money disputes, the now 6-11-1 Kandulo from Malawi was brought in to keep Tyirha busy.

Tyirha’s only defeat was a decision to former IBF champion, Nkosinathi Joyi back in 2019 in only his fifth professional bout. Since then, he won four fights in a row against very respectable international opponents, and he was closing in on an IBF title shot.

Everything looked to be going according to plan as Tyirha boxed well in his southpaw stance, behind his right jab, digging in hard left uppercuts to the body.

A right hook in the second sent Kandulo to the canvas for a count of eight. Tyirha opened up, trying his best to get his opponent out of there who somehow decided to bite down and keep exchanging with Tyirha. He got the worst of it but did touch Tyirha with his right every now and then. Still, it didn’t seem like a good idea on his part.

Kandulo took punishment through rounds three and four but somehow managed to hang in there. He snuck in a few more rights in the fifth but nothing that could turn the round his way.

Kandulo charged hard at the beginning of the fateful sixth but still, Tyirha seemed to quickly put him in his place with a hard lead hook. Then, suddenly, as Tyirha backed up into a corner, Kandulo, sliding forward on his feet with the punch, let fly with a straight right that landed on the chin. Tyirha crumbled to the canvas, where he was counted out in front of his shocked fans at the 1:57 mark.

George Kandulo, who scored the biggest upset on South African soil in a long time, celebrated alone with his handlers as he left the ring, his orange mouthguard still in position. Nonhlanhla Tyirha, who dropped to 8-2, will have to regroup.

That’s boxing for you..

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again. That worked for Melissa Miller. In another upset, she became the new female South African bantamweight champion when she won a ten round split decision over Sharadene Fortuin.

It was the pair’s fourth encounter, Fortuin winning decisions in all their previous bouts. The short, stocky but powerfully built Miller had no choice but to be the aggressor against her much taller opponent. She did that well, coming forward behind the jab, working the body and getting out again.

In the second she added an overhand right into the mix while Fortuin just could not seem to get going. She finally did find her jab and an uppercut in the third, but she could not sustain it and in the fourth it was Miller who unloaded on Fortuin as she backed her into the ropes. Whenever Fortuin did something, Miller came right back at her with two fisted attacks to the body, ending to the head.

Miller continued to bank rounds by simply outworking Fortuin, who finally started to mount some offense in the eighth round.

Fortuin landed her straight right, then a left hook and right uppercut on occasion, which possibly allowed her to shade the last three rounds, but it was too little too late.

With the win, Melissa Miller moves to 8-12-3 with a single knockout, while Fortuin drops to 13-3-1.

Siyakholwa Kuse regained the South African strawweight title when he won a unanimous 12-round decision over Bangile Nyangani.

It was a highly competitive nip-and-tuck affair with many swing rounds. Two of the scorecards of 116-110 and especially 119-109 felt off the mark while the third card of 116-112 seemed the fairest reflection. Ring scored the bout 116-113 for Kuse.

The fight was a rematch of their previous encounter that took place in July of 2021. In that fight, Nyangani won a majority decision. They wasted no time getting stuck in, with Kuse being the aggressor at the opening bell, coming forward behind his southpaw jab. He landed a big left as the bell ended the round.

Kuse landed a blistering double lead hook to the body and head in the second but then Nyangani landed three straight rights in succession. Kuse ended the round bleeding over the left eye.

Those right hands of Nyangani remained a factor throughout the fight. Unable to avoid the punch, Kuse just kept eating them like candy.  However, he did come roaring back with uppercuts and hooks on the inside every time it looked like Nyangani was on the verge of overwhelming him.

In a great seventh round that had the crowd on their feet, singing, both warriors took turns hurting each other. Nyangani stunned Kuse with a right. He went down moments later in what was ruled a slip but then went after Nyangani with hooks to the body punctuated with uppercuts to the head. Just as it looked like he was surging forward, a right from Nyangani knocked him on his heels but as Nyangani moved in for the kill, an uppercut from Kuse wobbled him in return. He gathered himself and landed three straight rights in succession, but although he appeared rocked, Kuse dug down deep and came back with combinations as the pair exchanged fiercely until the bell.

That was the fight in a microcosm. Nyangani landed the harder, cleaner blows, but Kuse kept coming back with the flashier, quicker combinations and had the slightly busier hands.

Kuse finished strong in the final two rounds, digging deep to force the exchanges, and using his feet to get out of the way, while Nyangani seemed to fade slightly. Kuse landed a right uppercut followed by a straight left as the fight ended.

Bangile Nyangani, who drops to 13-2-1 can come again. Siyakholwa Kuse, now 5-2-1 with two knockouts is undoubtedly talented but he is going to have to find a way to close the window on those right hands!

In a super middleweight ten rounder, Asemahle Wellem won a lopsided unanimous decision over Alex Kabangu by scores of 100-92 and two cards of 100-90.

Wellem was just too fresh and quick for his seasoned Congolese opponent whose game plan seemed to consist of trying to land his overhand right and falling into a clinch.

Wellem hooked well off his left jab and landed the right to the body, which he did consistently enough to bank rounds.

Kabangu for his part, never changed his game plan and when he did finally let his hands go to Wellem’s body in the sixth, he smothered his own work with yet another clinch.

Wellem buckled Kabangu’s knees with a left hook towards the end of the final round and a straight right had him staggering into the corner on the verge of a stoppage when the bell came to his rescue.

Wellem, who is also the national champion at the weight, improves to 6-0 with three knockouts while Kabangu drops to 6-5-3.

Undercard result:

Sinethemba Blom KO 2 Romeo Makwakwa (lightweight)

The card was presented by Teris Ntutu and Nomfesane Nyathela of Rumble Africa Promotions.