Cruel Junior fulfils his late father’s wishes
Now that Tsiko “Cruel Junior” Mulovhedzi has won his second world title, he is confident that the spirit of his late dad will rest in peace.
Ratshilumela “Cruel Senior” Mulovhedzi, the man who was a source of inspiration for the Thohoyandou boxer, died in November at the age of 102. His death came at a time when his son held the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) welterweight championship belt.
Now Cruel Junior believes he has appeased his departed mentor by winning the International Boxing Federation International (IBF) championship belt after beating German Dario Socci by a unanimous points decision to lift the vacant title here on Friday.
“I have not been able to sleep peacefully since my dad passed away. He has been nagging me in my dreams by begging me to do him a favour by winning another world crown for him. His demand made me very restless. I am happy that I have fulfilled his wish by winning the IBF crown, and his spirit will now hopefully rest in peace,” said Mulovhedzi.
The bout got off to an intense start in front of a vociferous crowd, with Mulovhedzi unloading fierce punches to keep the aggressive visitor at bay. However, Socci retaliated with ferocious body punches to keep Mulovhedzi back. But the South African showed a superior work rate – scoring with telling left-right combinations.
Both gladiators went hammer and tong at each other in the last three rounds, with Mulovhedzi sustaining a cut above the right eye, while his opponent also had blood dripping from both of his eyes as a result of head-butting.
But Cruel Junior showed his intent by dictating the pace of the bloody encounter in the last round. He caught the out-of-sorts Socci with stinging shots that pinned the Italian-born foe against the ropes, much to the approval of the delirious fans.
It came as no surprise as the three judges, Neville Hotz, Jacobus van Niewenhuizen and Sylvia Mokaila, scored the bout 115-113, 114-113, and 117-112 respectively in favour of Mulovhedzi.
“I knew that I was going to win because I hurt my opponent in the first round with some great shots. He was a tough customer, though, but I am happy that I have proved who is king in the ring.”
Cruel Junior, who successfully defended his IBO belt in April last year against Mexican Jesus Gurrola at Ngoako Ramatlhodi Sports Complex in Limpopo, says he will be stripped of his IBO title soon for not putting it on the line.
“It has been nine months since I last fought and I am going to be stripped of the [IBO] belt. It is fine by me because I have proved my worth by lifting the IBF international title. I hope to make two more defences and go for the big IBF belt soon,” he said. Other results:
Makazole Tete beat Cletus Mbele (points, featherweight, six rounds);
Siphosethu Zingela beat Mokoena Nkopane (points, junior bantamweight, four rounds); and
Nhlanhla Ngamtwini beat Motswake Moselesele (points, junior bantamweight, six rounds).
CRUEL INTENTIONS SA boxer Tsiko Mulovhedzi celebrates after defeating Italian challenger Dario Socci at the Mangaung Indoor Sports Centre in Bloemfontein on Friday