Paulus ‘The Rock’ Ambunda waltzed his way through to the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) Super Bantamweight World title over the past weekend.
The Namibian faced a strong challenge from Argentinean opponent, Leandro Esperante to claim the vacant title on Saturday evening at the Ramatex textile factory hall on the outskirts of Windhoek, which was packed to the rafters.
Ambunda, who became World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Bantamweight champion after seeing off Pungluang Sor Singyu in March 2013, subsequently lost that title to Japanese challenger, Tomoki Kameda, five months later.
However, the Namibian was in mean form going into the wee hours of Sunday morning and came out tops, to be crowned world champion again, this time in a different weight category, after a marathon 12 rounds of blood, sweat and tears, in which no quarter was asked or given.
The clearly well-prepared Esperante came out and dominated the opening first five rounds and had the large crowd at the spacious Ramatex hall on the edge of their seats, when he floored Ambunda with powerful left hook in the second round.
The tough-as-steak Ambunda managed to beat the count by South African referee Andile Matika, to put up a gallant fight in round three, but Esperante stood his ground and kept him firmly under control. After a grueling 12 rounds of great boxing – the outcome would be decided by the scorecards of the three judges’ on ringside.
The judges scored the fight in a split decision, with two judges scoring in favour of Ambunda, while the other one gave the Argentinean the thumps up.
The scorecards read; 114-133, 114-115, 115-113, with Ambunda narrowly edging ahead of Esperante to be deservedly crowned the new IBO champion.
An emotional Ambunda said he promised to be a champion for the second time and expressed satisfaction that he kept to his word by not disappointing the Namibian nation.
“I would like to dedicate this fight to my uncle who passed away this year and also to my mother, who has been there for me through thick and thin,” he said.
On the same bill, another Namibian boxer in action, Jeremia Nakathila, defeated Paul Maxilana of South Africa via a first round technical knockout (TKO) in a non-title International Junior Lightweight bout.
In a non-title International Middleweight fight Paulinus Paulus made quick work of his bout against Keith Karimbika – sending the clearly out-of-sorts Zimbabwean to slumber land with a vicious knockout in round one.
Crowd favourite, Sacky “Izinyoka” Shikukutu returned to the boxing ring after a lengthy absence to defeat Limbani Masamba of Malawi on points in their International Welterweight six rounder.
Walter Kautondokwa beat Reson Hobyani of South Africa with a third round knockout in their International Middleweight six rounder, while Japhet Uutoni recorded a win on points against Khanyakude Mukansi (SA).
In the IBO Africa Welterweight title fight between Betuel ‘Tyson’ Ushona and Bongo Lipembo of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the hard-punching Namibian got the better of his opponent, defeating Lipembo on points after 12 rounds, with all three judges unanimously giving Ushona the nod – 119-110, 118-110 and 119-110.
In the international lightweight bout between Paulus ‘The Hitman’ Moses and Sadiki Momba of Tanzania, Moses defeated his opponent on points after eight rounds of boxing. – Additional reporting by NAMPA