Mthalane wins on a knockout

South Africa’s Moruti Mthalane retained his IBO flyweight belt with an outstanding performance when he knocked out Genesis Libranza from the Philippines in the fourth round, in front of a poor crowd at the Wembley Indoor Arena in Johannesburg on Friday night.

Mthalane (50.76 kg), who had been out of action for 17 months, looked in fine condition as he came out for the first round to score with stinging combinations to the head and body.

The same pattern was repeated in round two and when Libranza (49.92 kg) changed to the southpaw stance in the third stanza it made no difference, as the South African continued to outbox him.

Quick off his stool in the fourth round, Mthalane scored with big shots to the body before he dug in another stinging left to the body which sent Libranza down on all fours clutching his side in pain. It was at this point that referee Tony Nyangiwe counted him out at one minute 23 seconds into the round.

The 34-year-old Mthalane, who was making the third defence of his IBO belt, improved his record to 33-2; 22 and Libranza, 23, who was ranked at number 26 by the IBO, saw his record drop to 11-1; 8.

The unused judges were Roger Barnor (Ghana), Simon Xamlashe (SA) and Patric Mkondiba (Zimbabwe).

On the same card Ronald Malindi (53.20 kg) won the vacant ABU bantamweight title when he knocked Alexander Gambinya (53.46 kg) at one minute 23 seconds into the first round; and Koos Sibiya (58.42 kg) claimed the vacant ABU junior-lightweight belt when he stopped Banna Mazola in the seventh round.

Mazola did not come out at the bell for the seventh round and referee Thabo Spampool waved the fight off.

The tournament was presented by TK Boxing Promotions.

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