Mbabane - As expected, South African boxers dominated the Africa Boxing bill at the Royal Swazi Spa Convention Centre in Mbabane, Swaziland, on Friday.
The competition featured seven boxers from Mzansi, three from Botswana and one each from Kenya and Tanzania.
Rofhiwa “War Child” Maemu kept his World Boxing Association (WBA) Pan African featherweight belt when he defeated Tanzanian Haidari Mchanjo in a third-round TKO.
Prior to this bout, WBA Pan African lightweight champion Ayanda “Greyhound” Nkosi broke Kenyan Michael Odhiambo’s nose, leaving the challenger unable to answer the sixth-round bell.
Dubbed “the fittest sportsman in South Africa” by his trainer Alan Toweel Jr, Maemu tore into his opponent as soon as the first bell rang.
Toweel said great things were in store for Maemu, who he described as “the most dedicated boxer to come our way”.
The trainer said the secret to War Child’s success was fighting regularly.
Maemu’s record stands at nine wins, two draws and four losses in 15 fights.
“I’m on the phone with promoters every day,” said Toweel.
“Maemu’s last fight before Friday’s bout was on December 29. Before that, he fought on December 7.
“The plan is to have him fight as regularly as possible so he can improve his ranking. That’s a surefire way to get him a crack at the world title.”
The 26-year-old boxer runs 34km from his house in Soweto to Toweel’s gym in Linden four times a week. As soon as Maemu arrives at the gym, he works out for 90 minutes.
When asked about Friday’s bout, Maemu said: “I expected the fight to end in a knockout, but I was aiming for the mid rounds.”
On the other hand, Nkosi said he expected Odhiambo to give him a run for his money.
“He turned out to be a tough nut to crack,” said Nkosi.
“I took heavy punches from him in the first few rounds, but he eventually succumbed when I started applying the pressure,” said Nkosi.
He said he hoped the win would bring him closer to a world title fight.
“At this rate, I should be ready to fight for a world title in two years’ time.”
His record stands at 15 wins and nine losses.
Both fighters are handled by members of South African boxing royalty.
Maemu’s manager is the son of the late Alan Toweel.
Toweel senior’s brothers – Vic, Willie Jimmy, Fraser and Maurice – won several boxing titles over the years.
Nkosi is handled by former boxers Vusi and Patrick Malinga.
Vusi is the manager and Patrick is the trainer.
They are the sons of renowned trainer and manager Jabu Malinga, whose brother Thulani “Sugarboy” Malinga was a world champion.
Nkosi’s WBA Pan African lightweight title was previously held by Patrick, who retired last year.
Africa Boxing also proved to be a gathering of legends.
Veteran broadcaster Brian Mulder, commentator Barry Lambert, and officials Stanley Christodoulou and Wally Snowball were at the event sponsored by Fox