Last Born sends Ori­ent Theatre into rap­tures

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE at Ori­ent Theatre, East Lon­don pmokhine@city­

If you think box­ing in the Eastern Cape has been killed by the tele­vi­sion black­out, think twice – this is still a ma­jor spec­ta­tor sport.

Pugilism still oc­cu­pies the heart and minds of peo­ple both young and old in the sprawl­ing town­ship of Mdantsane, as has been tra­di­tion over the years.

The sport’s pulling power was ev­i­denced on Fri­day night, when thou­sands of spec­ta­tors de­scended on the Ori­ent Theatre in East Lon­don to wit­ness an ex­plo­sive seven-bout tour­na­ment staged by Si­juta Pro­mo­tions. The venue was packed to ca­pac­ity and fans even had to be turned away at the door, where tick­ets cost at least R100 per per­son.

The main fight on the bill was the in­ter­na­tional ju­nior ban­tamweight 12-rounder be­tween home­spun hero Zolani “Last Born” Tete and Mex­i­can Ol­guin Ramirez Di­uhl. Tete was so great on the night that he gave his fans what they needed by stop­ping the out-of-sorts Di­uhl in the eighth round. Sup­ported by a vo­cif­er­ous crowd that erupted into song when­ever Tete threw punches, the hall was rocked by the deliri­ous crowd. Last Born’s awe­some punch­ing power sent sup­port­ers into a frenzy when­ever he was on the at­tack.

Tete, the erst­while In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion cham­pion, said he wanted one more fight be­fore he be­came a pro­moter.

“My op­po­nent gave me a very good fight. He showed that he was here to com­pete, although he could not with­stand my punch­ing power. I want one more fight, and that’s it,” he said.

The other fight that cap­ti­vated the sup­port­ers was the in­ter­na­tional light­weight 10-round con­test in which Xolisani “Nomeva” Ndon­geni took only 1 minute and 9 sec­onds to knock out Ar­gen­tinian Miguel An­gel As­cal­ada in the sec­ond round. Ndon­geni, who is un­de­feated in 19 paid fights, fought like a gla­di­a­tor and gave it his all to show that he de­served re­spect from his sup­port­ers, who re­cip­ro­cated by chant­ing: “There’s no one like Nomeva”.

While it was a top-class event on the night, it was the gen­eral en­thu­si­asm of the fans that showed that the Eastern Cape is in­deed still the Mecca of box­ing.

The mag­netism of such mul­ti­tudes at fights will re­main etched in the minds of fol­low­ers for years to come.

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