Thembelani Maphuma, left, and Lindile Tshemese exchange blows during their junior-bantamweight clash at the Orient.
Image: Mark Andrews

All great bouts have rematches.

While some happen due to obligations even if the first fight was not that intriguing that cannot be said about Lindile Tshemese and Athi Dumezweni’s which will take place at Mdantsane Indoor Centre on Sunday.

The pair waged a memorable war at Orient Theatre in East London in December 2016 with the latter appearing on course to dethrone the SA junior-bantamweight champion.

The fight could easily have been voted as the best bout in the land if it did not fall outside the period under considerations for the awards.

Entering the 12th and last round all Dumezweni needed to do was to ride out time by running around the ring and he would have become the new champion.

But a combination of factors including a bungle by referee Siya Vabaza-Booi saw his aspirations go up in smoke.

Firstly either Dumezweni did not heed advice from his uncle Mthetho who manned his corner that he should not engage in the last round. Or he simply was not given it.

With Tshemese aware that unless he pulled a rabbit out of his hat the title would be gone, Dumezweni met the champion punch for punch both trading big blows before he slipped into a clinch.

Image: Dylan Wearing

Vabaza-Booi called for a break to separate the two fighters.

But while Dumezweni heeded the call, Tshemese unleashed a big blow which should have earned him a serious warning or even the docking of points.

Vabaza-Booi did nothing. Instead she waved the fight on and Tshemese seized the opportunity to land two more damaging blows to drop the already stricken Dumezweni hard.

Unsteady from the effect of the blows and exhaustion Dumezweni wobbled to his feet.

Tshemese went guns blazing to land once more and the fight was waved off, giving Tshemese a last-gasp win to retain his crown.

The fight was to serve as the last for the Dumezweni family tie as the boxer left his uncle in Mthatha to join Damean Durandt in Johannesburg.

Tshemese has since surrendered the title to Yanga Sigqibo who relinquished it after a single defence to give the former champion and fellow Duncan Village homeboy a chance to reclaim it in a rematch with top-rated Dumezweni.

New promoter MMT Promotion owned by former boxer Macbute Sinyabi has jumped in to promote the grudge match.

“This could not have been a more fitting fight to launch my promotional company,” said Sinyabi. “This fight is a grudge match and if the first one is anything to go by then we can more expect fireworks.”

Indeed this time the stakes are even as there will be no champion to benefit from questionable decisions from the officials. And the fact that Dumezweni was accused of running scared of Tshemese when he was initially billed to face unheralded eighth ranked KwaZulu-Natal Thulani Gumede has added intrigue to the bout.

When Boxing SA ruled that Tshemese should instead face Dumezweni, the latter’s camp dared Tshemese to bring it all.

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