Johannesburg - Despite having successfully defended his International Boxing Organisation world super flyweight title on Friday night, Gideon “Hardcore” Buthelezi put on a poor show against Filipino Ryan Rey Ponteras.
The bout took place at the International Convention Centre in East London.
Although all three judges’ scores favoured Buthelezi by wide margins – 118-112 (Lulama Mtya from South Africa); 118-109 (Eddie Pappoe from Ghana); and 118-111 (Patric Mukondwa from Zimbabwe) – it was a lacklustre performance by Hardcore, who had nothing exceptional to give to the fans as he was made to work hard and run around the ring for the better part of the night.
The champion, who is renowned for using his southpaw stance to good effect by stinging opponents with good shots, had little to offer as he spent most of the time on the retreat.
At first, the usually skilful fighter threw wild punches at his challenger, but his strategy was of no use as Ponteras retaliated with great body shots, putting Hardcore under pressure.
This was alien to Buthelezi’s normal fighting style. He only managed to up his tempo in the remaining four rounds as he scored with telling punches that unsettled Ponteras, who showed character by retaliating well with left hooks.
In an untidy encounter, Buthelezi kept control and knocked the Filipino down to the canvas with a right jab, followed up by a swing left in the 11th round.
He stayed in command through the final round to take the decision, even though it was certainly not one of his best nights.
Buthelezi has already defended his crown successfully against Free State fighter Doctor Ntsele and Mexico’s Angel Aviles.
He has now improved his record to 20 wins and five defeats in 25 professional fights.