Johannesburg - In what was billed the "Final Reckoning" at Emperors Palace on Saturday night between South Africa's two world-ranked fighters, Hekkie Budler retained his IBO strawweight title on a split points decision over Nkosinathi Joyi.
The decision went in favour of Budler with two of the judges giving him a 115-113, 116-113 advantage and the third ruling in favour of Joyi by 116 to 112 points.
A controversial, absorbing but uninspiring bout was fought between a heavier puncher in Joyi, continually moving forward against the faster, counter-passing Budler, with onlookers equally and hotly divided by the final decision.
And while Budler absorbed a great deal of body punishment and Joyi suffered an early cut eye, there were no knockdowns in the 12 rounds -although Budler did steady himself from one barrage of punches with a hand on the canvas.
Edrin Dapudong shed tears of frustration when South Africa's Gideon Buthelezi was given a surprise and inexplicable points victory over him in the IBO junior bantamweight title fight at Emperors Palace seven months ago.
But this time Philippines' Dapudong shed tears of joy after leaving nothing to chance or the capricious findings of the judges panel as he pummelled Buthelezi to a stunning first-round defeat in a fight that lasted no more than 2min 29secs.
A straight left to the body from Dapudong followed by a lethal left hook to the head sent a spread-eagled Buthelezi to the canvas in obvious pain and the referee declared a knock-out decision without bothering to complete the count.
In their first outing, Dapudong had also floored Buthelezi with a similar combination of punches in the ninth round and generally held the upper hand. But as one commentator reasoned after Buthelezi's points win: "the judges must have been watching another fight."
The IBO organisation ordered a rematch of the fight and this time the only surprise was that Dapudong completed the job a lot quicker than expected while confirming his superiority and right to become the IBO champion.
In what lived up to its billing as a no-hold-barred grudge fight, Rayno Liebenberg secured a points victory over a bloodied Johnny Muller to earn the vacant IBO light heavyweight title.
It was a crunching battle with all the guile and sophistication of a showdown in a street alley, but it seemed to hold the crowd on the edge of their seats and spectators afterwards threw coins and rand notes into the ring in appreciation of both fighters' raw courage.
Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman echoed the sentiment and said both fighters would receive a bonus for what was a crowd thriller and chiller in view of the fact that two men could absorb so much punishment with neither going down on the canvas.
The judges declared Liebenberg a 117-109, 115-111 and 115-111 winner and there was not much doubt as to who held the edge.
The junior lightweight fight between Lerato Kgale and Thabang Ramagole was transformed into a catch weight contest after Kgale had failed to make the weight and was penalised 10 per cent of his salary.
Despite the "heavier" Kgale stunning Ramagole with a knockdown in the first round, it was Ramagole who took control of the six round proceedings and preserved an unbeaten seven-fight record with a unanimous points win.
The promising 19-year-old Paul Kamanga also kept his unbeaten record with a sixth round tko win over Takalani Dendala, but showed signs of his inexperience against an opponent who has not won any of his last eight bouts.