NAMIBIA’S Anthony Jarmann is delighted to be a champion again following his slick points decision over Tanzania’s Salahe Mkalekwa for the WBA Pan African super-welterweight crown in Mbabane on Friday.
Jarmann returned to Windhoek with his belt, knowing that he will be defending the crown on home soil on 3 August – the date for the first-ever Fox Sports Africa Boxing tournament in Namibia.
“I am so chuffed to have won back my title,” Jarmann said.
“I lost it in Gaborone last year under trying conditions – I was emotionally unfit for that fight as I had just lost my brother.
The Namibian admitted that he had to battle smart against Mkalekwa, a southpaw who is a cagey fighter, and who is difficult to hit.
“But when I signed for this weekend’s fight, I went back to the basics in an effort to win the belt back. I’m glad that I did, as I will now be able to defend my title in front of my home crowd,” he said.
Jarmann and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Patrick Mukala may have lit up the Royal Swazi Spa Convention Centre with sizzling displays in their WBA Pan African title fights. But it was Botswana’s Steven Bagwasi who stole the show with a scintillating performance on the Fox Sports Africa Boxing tournament.
Mukala defended his WBA super-middleweight crown with a stunning fourth-round knockout win over Ibrahim Tamba of Tanzania.
And Bagwasi, who was making his fourth professional appearance, devastated South African Xolani Mgidi with a series of body blows before the referee stopped the fight in the fourth round of the scheduled six-round lightweight contest.
The Botswana pugillist was in superb condition – fit and light on his feet and with swift hand-speed – and he attacked from the first bell.
Afterwards, he said: “I’ve been working hard, as I knew this was an important fight for me. I’ve been working closely with the promoters, who have promised me more fights over the next few months. It was important for me to win so that my ambitions remain intact.
“I’ve been able to keep an unbeaten record, and I know winning is the only way I could get a shot at a WBA Pan African lightweight title fight.”
Mukala was similarly effective. He targeted Tamba with some stinging body punches before a flurry of combinations sent the Tanzanian to the canvas to be counted out.
“I had to bide my time. I did not want to go straight on the attack as I knew little of him. We saw some of his videos, but it did not show too much. I just wore him down, and when I got through his defence and hit him with some powerful punches, I opened him up,” Mukala said.
Soon after the fight, Ashley Fourie, Mukala’s trainer, approached promoter Barry Lambert to get him a tougher opponent for his next fight.
Lambert has agreed to take him up the ladder step by step over the next few months.
“Patrick has been very impressive. He is very clinical and devastating. He has come a long way since his first fight on our bill. Now is the right time to move him up a little further,” he added.
Lambert also announced that the Fox Sports Africa Boxing’s next tournament will be in KwaZulu-Natal – at the Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Centre on 27 June – and that they will line up a cracking bill of five fights to bring back the boxing fans.