Cowin Ray (8-0, 6 KOs) made a massive statement in the first defense of his SA super middleweight title, knocking out Andile Mntungwa (6-5-1, 4 KOs) in the third round of the main event at ESPN Africa Boxing 16 in Johannesburg, South Africa on Thursday 21 April.
The evening’s boxing spectacle produced 51 rounds of action and three knockouts across the main card and the undercard, but it was Ray who stole the show. The 26-year-old champ was in peak performance and asserted his dominance from round one as he landed an array of shots to both the body and the head.
In the second, he made his jab tell as he found his distance, and in the third it was good night for Mntungwa after a barrage of punches saw the referee bring the fight to a stop two minutes and 58 seconds into the round.
Speaking after the fight, Ray was humble in victory, courtesy to his opponent and said he hopes to the defend the title many more times: “Great thanks to God, my family and my team, and a big shout out to ESPN, thank-you.
“Andile my hat goes off to you, my respect to you. I knew he was going to be a tough competitor because he has never been knocked out before. I was ready for a 12-round world.
“My dream has always to be a champion and I will try defend it as many times as possible.”
Comfortable title defense for Nyangani
The co-main event saw Bangile Nyangani (12-1-1, 6 KOs) comfortably defend his SA mini flyweight title after beating Loyiso Ngatweni (10-16-5, 9 KOs) via unanimous decision (120-108, 118-110, 118-110) over 12 rounds.
Nyangani was just superior in all aspects of the fight and outclassed Ngatweni who looked out of his depth.
The first round saw both fighters a little tentative, with Nyangani using his jab while Ngatweni went looking for a big knockout punch. The second saw the champ find his rhythm and range as he landed jabs at will.
The third round, though, is where the fight turned as Nyangani absolutely picked his opponent apart, landing countless right hooks to the body, hitting Ngatweni again and again and again, and then occasionally choosing to hit him with a straight right that sent his heading jarring back.
From then on it was all Nyanani as hit and moved; picked his shots; and kept his opponent missing as the champ retained his title with ease.
Nkosi wins slugfest against Mahlangu
The first bout on the main card was an entertaining slugfest with Nthetelelo Nkosi (4-1, 2 KOs) beating Sipho Mahlangu (2-1) via unanimous decision (59-54, 58-55, 59-54) in their 65kg catchweight fight over six rounds.
Mahlangu started the better of the two fighters, moving well and boxing from the outside in the first two rounds. Nkosi, though, really asserted his dominance from the third as he worked his way inside and landed some great combinations, tagging the body and the head.
The writing was on the wall for Mahlangu after being deducted a point in the fifth for holding as he slumped to the first loss of his career, while Nkosi picked up his third win.
Boxing masterclass from Bagwasi
The second bout on the main card saw Botswana’s Kagiso Bagwasi (4-0, 1 KO) put on an impressive show as he beat DRC’s Lence Ngoy (2-1) via unanimous decision (58-56, 59-55, 58-56) in their welterweight contest over six rounds.
Bagwasi put on a boxing masterclass in the first three rounds, displaying an array of skills from quick combinations, to swift counter-attacking, to slick movement, and most importantly the accuracy of his punches.
Ngoy had no answer until he landed a lucky overhand left in the fourth that cut Bagwasi on the top of his right eye. The Botswanan backed off a bit after that and chose to dance around the ring for the final rounds, picking his punches as he maintained his undefeated streak.
2nd round Knockout and fairytale return for Magwaca
In an incredible return to the ring, in his first professional fight in over four-years after being shot in a home invasion, Mzuvukile Magwaca (21-0-3, 12 KOs) knocked out Sanele Maduna (4-1-1, 2 KOs) in the second round of their featherweight contest to announce his return to the boxing world.
It was a cagey opening round from both fighters, but a stiff jab and a devasting overhand right from Magwaca one minute into the second put Maduna out for the count.
As a former WBF, IBF Intercontinental and WBA International bantamweight champion, Magwaca is no stranger to victory, but this is his first since 2017 and the 21st of his career. On the other end of the scale, the loss is Maduna’s first.
Ogaketse’s work-rate sees him down Bikitsha
In the fourth bout on the main card, we witnessed a relentless pace set by Botswanan Kutlwano Ogaketse (7-2-1) which saw him beat South African Kabelo Bikitsha (5-5, 4 KOs) via majority decision (76-76, 79-72, 77-74) in their junior welterweight contest over eight rounds.
Ogaketse pushed the pace from the opening bell and never let-up, constantly moving forward and landing punches. Bikitsha looked good at times, but he just couldn’t keep up with the work-rate of the Botswanan.
It all came to a head in the eighth round when a massive left-hook from Ogaketse found the chin of the South African and sent him to the canvas. Bikitsha answered the count but was a beaten man as he suffered the fifth loss of his career, while Ogaketse picked up his seventh win.
The opening bout of the evening saw Papish Baloyi (1-0) pick up his first win after beating Mamelo Sithole (0-1) via majority decision (39-37, 38-38, 39-37) in their featherweight contest over four rounds. It was a tight affair in what was both boxer’s first pro fight, but Baloyi’s aggressiveness and overhand lefts earned him the victory.
The second bout on the undercard saw South Africa’s Donjuan Van Heerden (3-1) beat DRC’s Lumpungu Matoko (0-2) via unanimous decision (40-36, 40-36, 40-36) in their middleweight clash over four rounds. Van Heerden started strong and countered very well, using a strong left-hook to earn the third win of his career.
The only female bout on the card saw DRC’s Aratwa Kasemang (2-0) beat South African Raider Muleba (4-14-1) via unanimous decision (59-55, 58-56, 58-56) in their lightweight contest over six rounds.
Kasemang, by far the taller boxer, with a 20cm reach advantage, dominated the fight from the onset as she kept Muleba at distance with a stinging jab and solid straight. The South African was just unable to get inside and consequently suffered the 14th loss of her career while in stark contrast Kasemang earned her second win in as many fights.
Main Card results:
Nthetelelo Nkosi wins by unanimous decision over Sipho Mahlangu (59-54, 58-55, 59-54)
Kagiso Bagwasi wins by unanimous decision over Lence Ngoy (58-56, 59-55, 58-56)
Mzuvukile Magwaca wins by KO over Sanele Maduna (1 minute in round 2)
Kutlwano Ogaketse wins by majority decision over Kabelo Bikitsha (76-76, 79-72, 77-74)
Bangile Nyangani wins by unanimous decision over Loyiso Ngatweni (120-108, 118-110, 118-110)
Cowin Ray wins by TKO over Andile Mntungwa (2 minutes, 58 sec in round 3)
Papish Baloyi wins by majority decision over Mamelo Sithole (39-37, 38-38, 39-37)
Donjuan Van Heerden wins by unanimous decision over Lumpungu Matoko (40-36, 40-36, 40-36)
Aratwa Kasemang wins by unanimous decision over Raider Muleba (59-55, 58-56, 58-56)