Tshifhiwa Munyai retained the South African lightweight title for third time when he beat southpaw Aphiwe Mboyiya on a 12-round split decision at the Steve Tshwete Banquet Hall in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, on Friday night.
The scores were 116-114, 114-113 for Munyai and 116-113 for Mboyiya.
This was a closely fought and gruelling encounter between the two vastly experienced fighters.
Thirty-six-year-old Munyai (35-6-1; 20), who was born in Limpopo, but now fights out of Gauteng, had won the Commonwealth bantam, WBA Intercontinental bantam, IBO Junior featherweight and WBA Pan African junior featherweight titles before winning the South African lightweight title in March 2020.
The challenger (17-5-1; 8), who hails from the Eastern Cape, also came into the ring with an outstanding championship record having won the Eastern Cape featherweight, IBO All-Africa, WBO Africa and IBF Youth junior lightweight titles.
There was very little in it for the first two rounds until the third round when Mboyiya knocked down the champion with a straight left. He managed to beat the count and showed tremendous fitness and courage to come back in to the fight.
Munyai suffered a bad cut over the left eye, but his corner did a good job of keeping the bleeding under control.
The challenger possibly edged rounds nine and ten as both fighters went toe-toe in the last two rounds in a competitive fight throughout, with the champion doing just enough to edge it despite the knockdown.
On the undercard Thato Bonokoane retained the WBF International junior featherweight title on points over 12 rounds against Innocent Mantengu.
The tournament was presented by J4Joy Promotions.