WINDHOEK – In what many dubbed as his poorest performance in recent times, Namibia’s boxing wunderkind, Immanuel ‘Prince’ Naidjala succumbed his prestigious World Boxing Organisation (WBO) African Bantamweight crown to tenacious South African opponent Gideon ‘Hardcore’ Buthelezi at a packed Windhoek Country Club in the wee hours of yesterday morning.
Despite Naidjala enjoying the upper hand in terms of height and home ground advantage, Buthelezi was in all honesty the better fighter on the day and wasted little time in signalling his intentions when he took the fight to Naidjala right from the onset with some powerful body shots and great combinations.
From the 2nd and 4th rounds, Buthelezi’s speed and strong accurate punches finally started forcing the usually stylish Naidjala to fight the toe-to-toe style, which affected his defence and movement as he constantly failed to deliver his unusual powerful jabs.
Heading into the middle rounds, especially the 6 and 7th rounds, Naidjala regained his groove and started closing in with some strong head and body shots coupled with an assortment of uppercuts that had Buthelezi backtracking at times.
But the streetwise South African upped his tempo in the 8th round and had answers to almost everything Naidjala threw at him. He even dropped the Namibian in the 9th round although many argued Naidjala only slipped.
Going into the closing chapter of the highly heated bout, it was Buthelezi landing the bigger punches with Naidjala too focused on trying to score a knockout which never materialised as the South African held firm for a split decision victory. (116-111, 115-112 for Buthelezi, and 115-113 for Naidjala). With Saturday’s defeat, Naidjala also vacated his International Boxing Federation (IBF) International Bantamweight title.
Indongo hangs on to overpower ‘No-nonsense’ Mabuza
Namibia’s WBO Africa Junior Welterweight champion, Julius ‘Blue Machine’ Indongo was made to huff and puff in what was arguably his toughest fight to date when he firmly held on to successfully retain his title against South African veteran boxer Kaizer Mabuza.
With Mabuza as the more experienced fighter in Saturday’s fight, the South African had Indongo in trouble for the better part of the fight but Indongo’s speed and good combinations were enough to see him through as he constantly raked in valuable points with every twist of the fight.
Knowing very well that he could not par with Mabuza’s powerful punches, Indongo chose the smarter way of landing quick but strong combinations and moved out of the way before Mabuza could get a chance to connect his strong punches.
By the time the fight entered the last quarter, Mabuza seemed to have lost his groove as the exhausted but more effective Indongo continued to unleash clean head and body hooks, doubling the action with lethal jabs to score a unanimous decision victory.
By Otniel Hembapu