Frail 104-year-old dad in crowd inspired Cruel Junior’s victory
Tsiko “Cruel Junior” Mulovhedzi has dedicated his latest win to his 104-year-old dad, James Ratsilumela, whom he describes as a source of inspiration to his boxing career.
Mulovhedzi (30) beat Mexican challenger Jesus Gurrola by a unanimous points decision in defence of his International Boxing Organisation (IBO) welterweight championship at Ngoako Ramatlhodi Sports Complex in Seshego, Limpopo, last Friday.
Mulovhedzi was at his best as he taught Gurrola a boxing lesson with stinging shots for the duration of the bout, making easy the judges’ job of scoring the fight in his favour. He was in his element, catching the visitor with clean shots throughout the bout.
But Tsiko believes it was his father’s presence at the showdown that encouraged him to put up a splendid showing. Ratsilumela, who brought Tsiko into this world when he himself was already at the ripe age of 74, was seen in the crowd mumbling something to spur on his son whenever he was on the attack.
“He is very old and frail to attend my fights, but this time he decided to travel 150km from Vhembe to Seshego to watch me fight. His presence made me win and I’m deeply humbled because I could see him encouraging me to throw those great punches during the fight,” said Tsiko.
Cruel Junior said he inherited his name from Ratsilumela, whom he says was a bare-knuckle boxer himself during his time. The sport is popular in the Venda area during the festive season.
“He gave me this nickname because I was aggressive and talented. I owe it to him to win a unified world title before he goes to the grave one of these days,” said Tsiko, who has compiled a record of 11 wins, seven defeats and three draws from 21 fights.
His fight against the Mexican was his first in his home province in almost 10 years.
His promoter, Ayanda Matiti, said the pugilist would have a few more fights and probably unite the championship belts.
“Tsiko is one of the best punchers in the IBO. It would be nice to see him win a unified crown in future,” said Matiti. He said southpaw Gideon Buthelezi, who beat Argentinian Pichardo Liriano by a unanimous decision in his IBO super flyweight defence on the same bill, will be back in action during a showdown to be staged at the International Convention Hall in East London on July 22. Buthelezi dished out a great showing by catching his foe with stinging left body shots for the duration of the showdown to win the fight. “He is on top of his game at the moment and we’d like to see him in action soon. “Details of the event will be discussed shortly.”
BANGER WITH BITE Tsiko Mulovhedzi catches Jesus Gurrola with a left jab during their IBO welterweight title at Seshego, Limpopo, last Friday.
ACTION Gideon Buthelezi