Pretoria – For the first time in 34 years Pretoria hosted a world title fight – one the capital’s very own Danie Venter wouldn’t let go to waste – he knocked out his opponent, Barbadian Shawn Cox, in the first round to lift the WBF cruiserweight world title.
Crowds flocked to the Heartfelt Arena in Thaba Tshwane and became a part of history.
Nearly 34 years ago Gerrie Coetzee tried to secure the WBA world heavyweight title against US boxer John Tate at Loftus Versfeld. He was unable to do so as Tate won on points.
It took more than three decades for Pretoria to finally host another world title fight, with the hope that a local boxer would win it this time.
Venter made sure of that as he dropped his opponent to the canvas three times within the first two minutes of the first round.
As Cox hit the deck for the third time, referee Darryl Ribbink stepped in and ended the fight.
The crowd, that had just witnessed the South African favourite win the WBF world cruiserweight title, started chanting his name in a lively and jubilant chorus.
Venter’s win was the cherry on the cake for a night of entertaining boxing, with all three of the WBF cruiserweight titles being won by South African contenders.
In the first of the title fights South African Kevin Lerena landed a powerful right hook in the second round that floored his Ghanaian opponent, Ibrahim Labaran.
The fight was called to an immediate stop as the relentless onslaught of Lerena had already put his opponent on the canvas twice. Lerena lifted the WBF Africa title which he won in just two rounds.
The second title fight saw current South African cruiserweight champion Daniel Bruwer knock out Swiss fighter Sofiane Sebihi in the eighth round to claim the WBF international cruiserweight title.
Bruwer seemed to be on the losing end of the bout until the fourth round. He came alive and started landing a series of combos. During the first three rounds Sebihi punished Bruwer and looked poised to win the fight.
Late into round eight, Bruwer got the South African fans even more revved up as he knocked out his opponent with a solid uppercut.
With all three title fights won by the two boxers from Joburg and one from Pretoria, a patriotic ambiance reigned in the arena as people made their way out talking about the spectacular fights they had just witnessed.