Rose of Soweto quashes retirement

Dingaan Thobela is not done yet.

The 37-year-old wilting “Rose of Soweto” made that bold statement on Sunday morning after dropping a points loss to Ortis Grant at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday afternoon (Canadian time).

“That time has not come yet,” said the former WBC super middleweight champion, who made a disappointing return to Canada.

He was stopped in eight rounds by Eric Lucas for the WBC title in Montreal 2001.

That defeat was followed by a points loss to Mikkel Kessler for the IBA title in Denmark last year December.

In fact Thobela has lost four fights consecutively since surrendering his WBC title to Dave Hilton in Canada 2000. It was his third loss against a Canadian in Canada.

Thobela, who is undoubtedly the country’s most celebrated pugilist, announced his retirement before jetting off to Montreal.

He said a defeat against a man who has not fought for five years since being involved in a near-fatal car accident would mean the end of his illustrious career.

But he has made an about-turn.

“I did not say exactly if I lose this way or that way. Yes, I lost the fight, yes, but not the way how the judges scored it,” he said from his hotel room.

According to their eight-rounder was a lop-sided affair and the judges’ scorecard of 80-70, 80-71 and 80-71 was a true reflection of the proceedings.

In fact Grant won every round and he even dropped Thobela for a count in the sixth round.

But Thobela disputed that.

“I was off balance when he landed and I went down.
Look, I lost the fight but not with such margins.”

He conceded being ring-rusty.

“I could not do what I wanted to do, and Grant kept running away all the time.

“But over and above Grant is such a gentleman. He is a nice guy. You could not tell that we were going to exchange leather when we met at the weigh-in.

“He kept me in stitches with his jokes,” said Thobela.—Sapa

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