In a rather untidy affair, Thulani Mbenge won the South African welterweight title when he stopped defending champion Sean Ness in the seventh round at Emperors Palace near Kempton Park on Sunday afternoon.
The 25-year-old Mbenge (66,65 kg), who suffered a cut under his right eye early in the fight, made a fast start and dropped Ness (66,45 kg) with a right hand to the side of the head. Ness was not hurt and came back immediately.
There was definitely a clash of styles, with the orthodox Mbenge against the unorthodox southpaw style of Ness, and, as a result, from the second round the fight developed into a spoiling and holding match, with both fighters receiving numerous warnings from referee Jaap van Niewenhuizen for holding and other offences.
In the third round a barrage of punches sent Ness, 34, down in his own corner, and after rising he took a battering until the bell.
Howeve, r, the gutsy champion game back at Mbenge and managed to survive until another barrage of lefts and rights sent him down to his knees in the seventh round, as the referee waved the fight off at 58 seconds into the round.
Mbenge improved his record to 10-0; 10 and Ness’s record dropped to 10-2-2; 5.
The unused judges were Simon Mokadi, Wally Snowball and Tony Nyangiwe.
In an eight-round International contest that was no more than a sparring session, South African junior-heavyweight champion Kevin Lerena (90,10 kg) outpointed a rather flabby Sergio Ramirez (88,40 kg) from Mexico over eight rounds.
The scores were 78-74 and 79-73 twice.
Lucky Mongebane (58,32 kg) won the vacant Gauteng junior-lightweight title when he stopped Ashley Dlamini (58,97 kg) in the ninth round. Time was 1:27.
OTHER RESULTS: Super-middleweight: Ricky Tshabalala beat Gabriel Mngadi, tko 2; Junior-featherweight: Ayabonga Sonjica beat July Masuku, tko 2; Junior-welterweight: Jabulani Makhanzi beat Sibonelo Nzimande, tko 1; Light-heavyweight: Rowan Campbell beat Gerson Singo, tko 3; Strawweight: Dee Jay Kriel beat Xolisa Magusha, pts 8.