Ellen Simwaka, Smangele Hadebe retain international belts at ESPN Africa Boxing 20

South Africa’s Smangele ‘Smash’ Hadebe retained her title as the ABU Flyweight champion after Tanzania’s Stumai Muki retired injured ahead of round four at ESPN Africa Boxing 20 on Thursday.

In the main bout of the night, Hadebe controlled the fight from the outset, using her jab and stinging straight right to keep her opponent at bay. Muki struggled to find any rhythm and had no answer for the South African’s superior boxing skills.

The writing was on the wall well before the Tanzanian failed to answer the call for the fourth round, retiring due to a shoulder injury and handing Hadebe the TKO win.

The co-main bout saw Malawi’s Ellen Simwaka (11-5-2) successfully defend her IBF African Bantamweight title after beating Zambia’s Lina Kasweka (6-1-0) via majority decision (93-96, 97-93, 96-93) over ten rounds.

It was a battle from the opening bell as both fighters came out swinging, but neither could take the ascendancy in the first few rounds.

The champ, though, showed her class and continued to push the pace, landing shot after shot as Kaseka began to tire. Nonetheless, the two stood toe-to-toe and slugged it out, and in the end Simwaka simply landed more shots than her opponent.

The main card opened with a tightly contested affair that saw Zimbabwe’s Monica Mkandla (2-0-0) win via majority decision (38-38, 39-37, 39-37) against South Africa’s Nomusa Ngema (1-1-0) in their international Bantamweight fight over four rounds.

Mkandla threw more combinations and landed the more telling blows to pick up her second professional victory while Ngema suffered her first loss.

The second bout on the main card saw South Africa’s Sazisiwe Simon (2-0-0) earn a unanimous decision (40-36, 40-36, 39-37) victory over Malawi’s Adidya Mimu (1-1-0) in their international Junior Featherweight fight over four rounds.

Simon was the busier of the two fighters and worked well on the inside, but the most telling trait of the bout was the South African’s overhand right which often sent Mimu tumbling.

The third bout on the main card produced a stalemate as Nosiacwase Dube (0-3-3) and Lufuno Mutshayi (1-6-2) fought to a draw (59-55, 58-56, 57-57) in their Junior Featherweight contest over six rounds.

Dube started the better of the two fighters and had the better technique which saw her win the earlier rounds, but Mutshayi kept pushing forward and started to wear her opponent down. Neither could find the next gear, though, and had to settle for the draw.

The fourth bout on the main card ended with an injury, as Zimbabwe’s Patience Mastara (5-8-4) failed to answer the bell to the seventh round in her international Junior Featherweight contest against South Africa’s Matshidiso Mokebisi (16-10-1).

The fight started slowly with both boxers feeling each other out, but the contest sprang into life in the third round with two knockdowns. First, a left hook from Mastara sent the South African to the canvas, but she quickly got back up.

Mokebisi then delivered a devasting straight left to send the Zimbabwean to the floor, but she too got back to her feet.

The following rounds saw Mokebisi take the fight by the scruff of the neck as she started landing numerous heavy shots, which in the end saw the Zimbabwean unable to continue.

Main Card results:

– Monica Mkandla wins by majority decision over Nomusa Ngema (38-38, 39-37, 39-37)

– Sazisiwe Simon wins by unanimous decision over Adidya Mimu (40-36, 40-36, 39-37)

– Nosiacwase Dube and Lufuno Mutshayi fight to a draw (59-55, 58-56, 57-57)

– Matshidiso Mokebisi wins by TKO over Patience Mastara (7th round)

– Ellen Simwaka wins by majority decision over Lina Kasweka (93-96, 97-93, 96-93)

– Smangele Hadebe wins by TKO over Stumai Muki (4th round)

Undercard results:

– Ishmael Kadri wins by majority decision over Luvo Xhomfo (39-39, 39-37, 38-36)

– Katelgo Khanyisa wins by split decision over Sipho Mahlangu (77-75, 75-77, 77-75)