JOHANNESBURG – South African boxers suffered mixed fortunes in world title bouts at the Wynn Palace Cotai in Macao, China on Monday night.
Hekkie Budler lost his WBA light-flyweight belt when he quit at the end of the 10th round against Japanese challenger Hiroto Kyoguchi. At the time of the stoppage, the sores were 98-92, 96-94 97-93 in favour of Kyoguchi.
Moruti Mthalane retained the IBF flyweight belt when Mashiro Sakamoto retired at the end of the tenth round with a badly swollen eye. At the time of the stoppage, Mthalane was well ahead with scores of 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92.
In was a closely fought fight through the first six rounds with both Budler and Kyoguchi traded punches in the centre of the ring, and it was difficult to separate them at this stage.
However, from round eight Budler began to slow down as the much stronger Kyoguchi (48.98kg) began to back him up and punish him with lefts to the body and rights to the head.
At the end of the 10th round with Budler (48.44kg) bleeding from the right eye looked all in and it came as no surprise when his corner indicated to the referee Mark Calo-oy that they were pulling their fighter out.
Kyoguchi improved his record 12-0; 9 and Budler’s record dropped to 32-4; 10 as he suffered his first loss inside the distance.
Meanwhile, fighting from behind a tight defence and using all his boxing skills Mthalane retained his IBF belt for the first time when he outboxed and outthought the unheralded No 14 ranked Masahiro. Sakamoto retired at the end of the 10th round with a puffed up face and badly swollen eyes - one of which was nearly closed.
The superbly conditioned 36-year-old Mthalane improved his record 37-2; 25 and Sakamoto’s record dropped 13-2; 9
African News Agency (ANA)