Democratic Republic of Congo's Emmany Kalombo was crowned the new IBF International Junior Middleweight champion with an impressive TKO win over Kenya's Rayton Okwiri at ESPN Africa Boxing 18 in Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 30.
Six of the event's seven fights ended in knockouts. All the bouts on the main card did not go the distance.
The main event did not disappoint with Kalombo (16W-1L-0D) putting on a dominate showing as he maintained his 100% knockout record, while Okwiri (7W-1L-1D) saw his perfect record blemished.
The fight started a little cagey with neither fighter taking unnecessary risks, but Kalombo picked up the pace in the second and continued to pile on the pressure, using good combinations to keep Okwiri backpedaling. The power of the man from DRC was just too much for the Kenyan who failed to answer the seventh round.
"It's not easy to fight a southpaw, it is an awkward style, but I made it happen," Kalombo said after the fight.
Mbenge calls out van Heerden after TKO win
The co-main event saw South Africa's Thulani Mbenge (19W-1L-0D) earn an easy second round TKO win over Tanzania's Idd Pialari (30W-8L-1D) in their International Welterweight contest.
Mbenge controlled the ring from the opening bell and landed shots almost at will, with Pialari merely had no answer for his opponent.
The writing was on the wall and the referee rightly called an end to the fight one minute and 54 seconds into round two.
Speaking after the fight, Mbenge was quick to call out former IBO Welterweight champion Chris van Heerden (28W-3L-1D) who was sitting at ringside.
"It feels good to win and to be back here is the hell of a thing," Mbenge said. "Chris, what's up, let's make it happen, let's make it happen. Let's go. I'll take you out."
Nqothole's body blows too much for Bangaiza
The main card opened with an impressive showing from South Africa's Sikho Nqothole (15W-2L-0D) who knocked out Tanzania's Selemani Bangaiza (12W-8L-0D) in round one of their International Bantamweight contest.
Nqothole put Bangaiza on the canvas early in the first round with a devasting left-hook to the body. The Tanzanian answered the first count but hit the deck for a second time after another powerful right-hook to the body, which saw the referee call a stop to the fight two minutes and 15 seconds into the opening round.
Bholo earns KO in slugfest
The second bout on the main card produced a scintillating slugfest that ultimately saw South Africa's Gift Bholo (10W-11L-0D) knockout Malawi's Hannock Phiri (4W-1L-1D) in round five of their International Super Lightweight contest.
Bholo showed true grit to comeback from a knockdown in the first round after a lucky overhand right from Phiri saw him take a knee.
The second and third rounds saw both fighters swinging for the fences, and to be quite frank it was a miracle neither hit the canvas. That was not the case in the fourth round when a straight right from Bholo sent Phiri stumbling before he fell over.
The Tanzanian got back to his feet, but was unable to do so in the following round after a massive overhand right from Bholo ended the bout two minutes and 12 seconds into round five.
Calculated showing from Makhense
The third bout on the main card saw a calculated performance from South Africa's Jabulani Makhense (13W-1L-0D) who earned a TKO victory over DRC's Paul Kamanga (23W-3L-0D) in round five of their International Catchweight contest.
Makhense looked comfortable from the onset and was measured in his approach, cleverly picking his shots as he took Kamanga apart at ease. The man from DRC had no answer for the South African's long jab and stinging right-hand.
It was only a matter of time before Makhense would knock his opponent out and, to their credit, Kamanga's corner saw the writing on the wall as they threw in the towel 33 seconds into round five.
The first bout on the undercard saw Sinethemba Blom (1W-0L-0D) earn his maiden victory as a professional fighter after beating Sandile Dumisa (1W-2L-0D) via unanimous decision (39-36, 40-35, 39-36) in their Lightweight contest over four rounds.
The defining moment in the bout came in the third round when a right-hook to head and a left-hook to the body from Blom saw his opponent hit the deck. Dumisa answered the count but was unable to find his way back into the fight as he suffered the second loss of his career.
The second bout on the undercard saw Cayden Truter (5W-0L-0D) maintain his unbeaten record with a second round KO of Khanyisani Mbokazi (2W-4L-1D) in their Catchweight contest.
Truter looked the superior fighter from the onset and put Mbokazi on the canvas with a straight right for the first time in the second round. The latter answered the count, but Truter was quickly on top of him, producing a nice one-two to put Mbokazi on his bum again. That saw the referee call a stop to the fight two minutes and seven seconds into the round.
Main Card results
- Sikho Nqothole wins by TKO over Selemani Bangaiza (2 mins, 15 secs in round 1)
- Gift Bholo wins by KO over Hannock Phiri (2 mins, 12 secs in round 5)
- Jabulani Makhense wins by TKO over Paul Kamanga (33 secs in round 5)
- Thulani Mbenge wins by TKO over Idd Pialari (1 min, 54 secs in round 2)
- Emmany Kalombo win by TKO over Rayton Okwiri (failed to answer round 7)
- Sinethemba Blom wins by unanimous decision over Sandile Dumisa (39-36, 40-35, 39-36)
- Cayden Truter wins by KO over Khanyisani Mbokazi (2 mins, 7 secs in round 2)
ESPN Africa Boxing airs on ESPN (DStv 218, Starsat 248) in Africa, and on SABC Sport and selected international broadcasters, including ESPN across Latin America.