Cruel Ju­nior ful­fils his late fa­ther’s wishes

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE in Bloem­fontein pmokhine@city­press.co.za

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).

PHOTO: KHOTHATSO MOKONE

CRUEL IN­TEN­TIONS SA boxer Tsiko Mulovhedzi cel­e­brates af­ter de­feat­ing Ital­ian chal­lenger Dario Socci at the Man­gaung In­door Sports Cen­tre in Bloem­fontein on Fri­day

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