Young ‘Iron Lady’ pulls off a coup in thrilling title bout

Finally East London female boxing sensation Leighandre “Baby Lee” Jegels is a champion.

The 21-year-old, however, was pushed all the way by the determined Nolubabalo Ngqondelana when they fought for the vacant SA junior-bantamweight crown at Mdantsane Indoor Centre at the weekend.

In fact, Ngqondelana who came in a heavy underdog, remains the toughest opponent the unbeaten Jegels has ever faced in her professional career of seven bouts.

Ngqondelana only had a modest five wins to her bow – two wins and two draws – and was tipped to succumb to Jegels’ power which had flattened all her previous six foes.

So unheralded was Ngqondelana that after being given the green light for the fight, Boxing SA Eastern Cape manager, Phakamile Jacobs, demanded she meet stringent conditions.

But once the bell sounded, she tore into her more illustrious opponent with fury of a wounded tiger.

Jegels whose fighting background is superior having bagged more bouts in karate, acquitted herself well turning the bout into a thrilling affair, which had spectators on their feet.

But Ngqondelana from Phumlani informal settlement would not be intimidated as she matched Jegels punch for punch.

By the middle rounds, Ngqondelana appeared to be getting the upperhand.

She swept through rounds eight and nine with ease, sparking anxious moments from Jegels’ corner as the potential of an upset loomed large.

“I had to go to talk some sense into Baby Lee after these rounds as the fight was slipping away,” confirmed Jegels’ promoter Andile Sidinile who did not organise the fight.

Jegels came back very strongly as her opponent started to tire, and landed her blows with more authority.

This helped the judges vote the fight in her favour with scores of 97-94, 96-93 and a rather off the mark 98-91.

Despite her loss, Ngqondelana proved her fighting prowess confirmed by calls of “rematch, rematch” from the crowd.

And Jacobs agreed.

“If a contract would be presented to me to approve for a rematch I would not hesitate,” said Jacobs.

Ngqondelana became the first boxer to take Jegels to the full distance in seven fights.

The tournament organised by KK Promotions, also saw veteran Mdantsane boxer Yanga Phethani, claim the provincial middleweight crown with a points win over Masixole Bhotile from Port Elizabeth.

Other results: Bonani Ngozi draw Mbulelo Dyani (bantam); Khanyile Bhulana TKO 4 Nkosikho Sibunzi (jnr-feather); Andile Nxayiphi TKO 2 Odwa Loli (jnr- bantam); Yamkela Phelisa KO 2 Preston Mozambique (light).

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