By Lwazi Ndzobongo: Thulani Mbenge won the IBO welterweight championship against Diego Chavez at Emperors Palace on Saturday night. Mbenge knocked out Chavez with two hard straight rights in the seventh round to end a fight that Mbenge was in charge of throughout.
Chavez came out aggressively in the first two rounds, looking to get close and rough up the taller Mbenge. The experience of Chavez was always going to be a threat for Mbenge who was only in his 14th professional fight against the 30 odd fights of Chavez.
In round three, strangely inexplicably, Chavez bit Mbenge on the side of his body, this got him a stern talking to by the referee and visibly angered Mbenge.
From the fourth round until the end, Mbenge used his reach and height advantage, doubling up on the jab and mixing his punches brilliantly to keep Chavez at a distance. He was fighting way beyond his experience and was able to silence Chavez who had fought some of the best welterweights of the world.
A straight right in round six had put Chavez down for the ten count and when he came out for the seventh, there was a sense of inevitability and credit to Mbenge for finishing him off. It was a performance to smile about from Mbenge and winning the IBO title was the cherry on top, his promise is materializing and he looks like a force to be reckoned with.
Mbenge improved to 14-0; 11 whilst Chavez dropped to 26-4-1; 22.
In the main supporting bout, Thabiso Mchunu got his career back on track with a 6th round knock out of Richard Bolotnik.
Mchunu who blows hot and cold, was on his game on Saturday night and took care of business impressively. He was able to put together his punches from the onset, throwing combinations and confusing Bolotnik with his movement. Bolotnik isn’t one of the top guys in the division but has faced the likes of Micki Nielsen and narrowly lost, but on the night he was outboxed by Mchunu.
Mchunu isn’t a power puncher but the volume and frequency of hitting the mark eventually got the better of Bolotnik. Mchunu will face Tommy Oosthuizen on the 1st of September, in Oosthuizen’s return after a few years of dealing with personal issues.
Super middleweight Rowan Campbell w tko 8 Malkhaz Sujashvili
Middleweight Wade Groth w pts 6 Andile Mntungwa
Junior featherweight Ayabonga Sonjica w tko 1 Tumelo Matsane