Man of iron Nkosi retains Pan African title
EVEN though Ayanda Nkosi, pictured, took a bit of punishment in the early rounds, the South African had more than enough fire-power towards the end of the fight to defend his 12-round WBA Pan African lightweight title against Botswana’s Steven Bagwasi in the Fox Sports Africa Boxing tournament at Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom on Friday night.
It was his second title defence – the first was against Cosmas Cheka of Tanzania, whom he beat on a knockout very early in the 12-round bout which also took place at Sibaya.
The 25-year-old Nkosi, jubilant after securing a unanimous decision, said afterwards: “It was a tough one but I’m happy I came through. He was a tough fighter. He threw everything at me as I had expected especially in the early rounds. But then I slowly started wearing him down, getting my punches through his defence.
“I could see he began tiring after the seventh round and that’s when I increased my aggression and went looking for a knockout.”
Nkosi found a telling punch in the 12th round – a right to the head that saw the Botswanan hit the canvas for an eight-count. But the spunky lightweight, who hadn’t gone beyond eight rounds in his professional career before, weathered the storm to see out 12 rounds.
“I gave my all,” Bagwasi said. “I’m not disappointed to have lost. It was a huge learning curve for me. Ayanda is such a good boxer. He’s strong and he fought a tactical fight. I was up with him toe-to-toe from the beginning but then started running out of steam from the ninth round onwards. I’ll be back – that’s for sure.”
For Bagwasi it was his first loss in six fights while Nkosi took his record to 11 fights and one loss.
Meanwhile, Akani Phuzi, the tough WBA Pan African cruiserweight champion, retained his title with a workmanlike points win over Nigeria’s Afinni Abiodun over 12 rounds.
The big-hitting Phuzi hunted his opponent around the ring, throwing his big right hand but was unable to send the Nigerian to the canvas. Abiodun took some punishment during the encounter and never flinched while Phuzi hit his body with some telling blows. “I’m glad Akani went through 12 rounds,” manager-trainer, Alan Toweel said. “For him it was a huge learning curve – he needs to go the distance instead of winning by a knockout all the time.”
A big disappointment was the poor showing by Namibian Anthony Jarmann, the WBA super-welterweight champion who lost on a TKO in the seventh round to South Africa’s John Bopane in a non-title fight.
The night ended with SA’s latest heavyweight ‘find’ Wilhelm Nebe knocking out Malawi’s Gilson Jeputers after just 24 seconds.