IBO bantamweight champion Silence Mabuza showed why he is the only South African boxer rated in the top ten by Ring magazine, and former heavyweight champion Corrie Sanders’s ring career must now be over.
That much emerged on Saturday evening at the Golden Gloves Promotions tournament at Emperors Palace.
Mabuza meandered through the opening four rounds before taking on the guise of the ”Silent Assassin” while retaining his title against the Philippines’ Eden Sonsona with a barrage of lethal body blows.
The tko verdict after eight rounds against a willing and highly promising but ultimately over-matched 19-year-old opponent emphasised why the 30-year-old Mabuza is the only South African to be ranked among the top 10 in any division by the authoritative Ring magazine.
And it was no mean feat to take the steam out of an opponent who had won 14 of his previous 16 bouts and had never been stopped in his tracks before.
Yet, for all this, the fight was reasonably evenly poised after four rounds in which the south-pawed Sonsona appeared the snappier puncher against a fighter who maintained his reputation as a slow starter.
But once the imperturbably Mabuza latched on to the fact that Sonsona was distinctly uneasy in the face of body blows, the South African champion increased the pressure with tigerish intensity and never looked back after flooring the Filipino in the fifth round.
It appeared as though Sonsona would not beat the count, but he got to his feet in the nick of time and carried on bravely for three more rounds.
However, the writing was already on the wall as the ”Silent Assassin” targeted his victim and delivered the coup de grâce in the eighth round.
Meanwhile, he was brought out from the US as a controversial guest to give credence to the ”Fire and Brimstone” tournament, but ”Iron” Mike Tyson must have been wondering why he made the trip as the 42-year-old Sanders was stopped in his tracks in the first round by current South African champion Osborne ”Big Daddy” Mabuza to end all ideas of a comeback campaign.
The left-handed knock-out punch midway through the first round seemed no more than a routine blow that was going to have no significant impact, but the podgy, overweight Sanders sagged to the canvas like a deflated balloon and gave no sign of getting back on his feet.
If the fight proved anything, it is that Sanders should now stick to the golf course and improve his putting instead of putting his waning reputation on the line.
And the 41-year-old Tyson, an inscrutable onlooker in the audience, may secretly have been contemplating what he could have done to both the fighters in his heyday.
In the earlier fights, lightweight Grant Fourie had little trouble disposing of Sheriff Ramanyimi when the referee stopped the fight in the second round; junior featherweight Takalani Ndlovu recorded a fourth-round win over the Philippines’ Raymond Sermona; and Sibisisi Twani made Hekkie Budler work hard for a points win a junior flyweight contest over six rounds. — Sapa