Johannesburg - Gideon “Hardcore” Buthelezi’s breathtaking ring exploits have earned him the status of being South Africa’s first southpaw to conquer the super flyweight division on the global stage.
Southpaw is the normal stance for a left-handed boxer.
South Africa’s super flyweight class has been dominated by orthodox (right-handed) boxers, most of whom have now retired.
Hardcore successfully retained his International Boxing Organisation (IBO) belt with an emphatic unanimous points decision victory over Mexican challenger Angel Aviles at Kempton Park Indoor Centre a fortnight ago. Judges Patrick Mukondiwa, Ace Makaluza and Roger Barnor scored the bout 119-109, 118-100 and 115-113, respectively, in Buthelezi’s favour.
In 2015, the 30-year-old won the then vacant super flyweight title by beating Makazole Tete on a unanimous points decision at the Orient Theatre in East London.
He successfully defended his title against Argentine Diego Luis Pichardo Liriano, beating him with a unanimous points decision at Ngoako Ramatlhodi Sports Complex in Seshego, Limpopo, in April last year.
The lightweights have previously seen the dominance of local orthodox fighters calling the shots by winning national and international titles.
But Hardcore, who has also held the IBO light flyweight and World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Africa minimum weight diadems, has given the sport of pugilism a new lease of life by being the country’s only lefty to hold a world championship belt in the lightweight category. Themba Joyi, who has since quit the sport, was also a southpaw who held a title belt. However, Joyi’s was a national title belt – making Buthelezi a kingpin by virtue of his being an international stage beater.
The likes of Jacob “Baby Jake” Matlala and Masibulele “Hawk” Makepula were great lightweight division men who held world crowns.
Hardcore seems to have added class to the ring with his exciting style, which is similar to that of Naseem Hamed – the former International Boxing Federation and WBO featherweight title holder who was renowned for his sleek movement around the ring, thus confusing opponents before connecting with a great hook.
“Being the country’s only southpaw world champion in a weight division dominated by right-handed boxers makes me feel great,” said the Boipatong-based boxer.
“I enjoy entertaining fans by moving around the ring and catching opponents unawares with big shots.”
Hardcore is hoping to meet with his promoter, Ayanda Matiti, soon to discuss a plan for his next title defence.