Van Heerden retains IBO title
Chris van Heerden (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Chris "The Heat" van Heerden put on the heat in the later rounds to retain his IBO welterweight title with a points victory over battle-hardened Argentinean veteran Sebastian Lujan in Golden Gloves' boxing bill at Emperors Palace on Saturday night.
There was little doubt that the piston-punching Van Heerden earned a clear-cut win over his 32 year-old opponent, but the runaway victory margins of the three judges made a mockery of what had been an interesting, if not inspiring 12 rounds.
Two judges had scorecards of 120-108 in favour of Van Heerden and the third made it a one-way 119-109, with the weaving, sometimes showboating Argentinean having won a good three rounds and shared a couple more, if not the fight in its entirety.
Neither of these fighters features among Ring Magazine's top 10 welterweights in the world and the IBO itself only ranks Lujan a 21st contender, with Van Heerden now needing stronger opposition to prove his mettle.
The much-touted Super Eight contest that was supposed to feature the opening series of fights between eight cruiserweights turned out to be a damp squib before it had even started.
The fight between the top-seeded Ran Nakash, who came to South Africa with a big reputation as the 14th ranked WBC boxer, and Johnny Muller never took place because the former Israeli army commander failed to make the prescribed weight of 90,70kg at the weigh-in on Friday.
Given an extra hour to shed his excess weight, Nakash was still overweight when he stepped on the scales a second time. And when the Israeli was generously offered additional time to keep his presence in the event alive, he scorned the offer and elected to return home.
Then the two opening bouts of the "Super Eight" both ended almost before they had started in the first round.
Zack Mwekassa, the second seed, had Tshepang Mohale in trouble from the outset and the boxer who is known as 'The Black Warrior" completed a one-sided knockout win in one min, 21 sec.
Thabiso Mchunu took only a minute or so longer to gain a TKO win over fading prospect Flo Simba, but the night was soured by the grossly premature decision of the referee to halt the proceedings.
But if the referee added to the aura of mediocrity, there was little doubt that Simba was already in trouble, with his suspect defence again only earning a failed mark.
Simba's trainer, Harold Volbrecht, said afterwards that he would be lodging a protest over the refereeing, but he could not have been happy about Simba's showing, no matter how briefly he was in action.
In the final Super Eight fight it took former Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Danie Venter to provide moments of sustained interest in the cruiserweight contest as he outclassed and outpunched a clowning, disappointing Daniel Bruwer.
Venter floored Bruwer in the seventh round of his eight-round points victory and the three judges awarded him a clear-cut victory by the margins of 79-72, 79-72 and 78-73.
Now Mwekassa meets Mchunu, whom he has already knocked out in a previous fight, in the second round of the not-so-Super Eight and Venter takes on Muller, who hopefully will enter the ring on this occasion.