A mighty clash of heads

Premature end to bout sees Konkco retain title

What was developing into a thrilling contest ended prematurely when an accidental clash of heads produced a deep gash for Simpiwe Konkco forcing the referee to stop his IBO mini flyweight title defence bout against Filipino Joey Canoy at the Orient Theatre in East London on Sunday.
Pitting a deceptively fragile-looking challenger and hard-nosed champion, the fight exploded into life when the fight was just two rounds old when a right-hook counter by Canoy sent Konkco crashing to the canvas head first.
Despite gathering himself before getting up, Konkco was badly hurt.
When proceedings resumed, Canoy charged at him and landed a wicked left with screams from the crowd urging Konkco to hold.
Konkco, whose toughness had been forgotten due to his coach Colin Nathan’s instructions to box with his brains rather than his brawn, willed himself back into the fight.
By round three, Konkco had resumed command of the fight, but Canoy was still a very live dog.
When both boxers threw punches simultaneously in the fourth, they butted heads leaving Konkco with blood streaming down his forehead.
Fearing the worst, the crowd began urging the fight to be stopped – aware that should that happen, the decision would be a no-contest as four rounds had not been completed as per boxing rules.
Referee Alan Matakane called for the ringside doctor to inspect the severity of the cut.
On the doctor’s advice, the fight was stopped, assisting Konkco to remain the champion.
Makazole Tete’s fight against Ronald Malindi was dubbed “now or never” and it proved to be a big never for him when he was turned into a punchbag by the unheralded visitor en route to a one-sided beat-down.
With his handlers having persisted with him despite previous poor performances, after this loss, they must have finally given up on him.
With an ABU bantamweight crown at stake, not even his father Zolile’s heavy dancing in his entrant song could spur him on.
And not even his manager Mla Tengimfene’s war-cry of “now or never” which left him with teary eyes, could help.
When the fight started, Tete went into a cocoon. His more illustrious brother, Zolani’s, yells yielded nothing until his sibling stopped calling him by his nickname of Carlos Djedje (the great reggae artist) and resorted to screams of “Makazole, yilwa!” (Makazole, fight!).
Malindi was so in control that at times he clowned around, dancing after each blow or dropping his guard to the waistline.
Tete never took advantage. Instead, he fought on the backfoot throughout even though his taller opponent made things easy for him by opting to fight an inside fight.
Despite dropping points in each passing round, Tete’s corner, manned by Loyiso Mtya, never gave up on him.
They kept sending him back to the firing line with Zolani taking over during proceedings to scream his lungs out at ringside, but to no avail.
All three judges had Tete losing a lopsided decision by 119-109 across the board to possibly close the chapter on his career that promised much, but delivered little.
Other results: Xolisa Nonkonyana TKO2 Noxolo Dyani (welter); Phila Gola D Mawande Mbusi (bantam)..

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