Patrons barely had time to order a fresh round of drinks and Rowan Campbell’s hands were already raised in victory in his catchweight (77.4kg) contest against Nicholas Radley at Emperor’s Palace on Saturday night.
On an evening where none of the feature bouts went the distance on the Golden Gloves’ 4@War offering, the national and continental super-middleweight champion made short work of the towering SA light heavyweight title holder, retaining his unbeaten record (12-0) with a fourth round TKO and putting a dent in the latter’s resume (10-1).
Campbell got to work and asserted himself early on, getting in close with some heavy body punches, while the string bean Radley, with a distinct height and reach advantage, was content to box from behind his jab to keep his opponent at bay.
An increasingly popular drawcard, Campbell was particularly dangerous at close quarters and sealed the deal with a booming right to the jaw which buckled Radley’s legs, leaving him all at sea and a sitting duck as Campbell intensified his assault before referee Simon Xamlashe stepped in to call a halt.
His next assignment appears to already be mapped out as Ryno Liebenberg, who has taken the step up to light heavyweight, issued a bold challenge to Campbell for a match-up in the new-year.
Branden Thysse and Boyd Allen emerged victorious in the 4@War junior middleweight semifinal shootout, to secure a reprise in March next year of their previous battle for the WBA Pan-African title which Allen won on a split decision at the same venue in May.
Thysse, now under the tutelage of Damien Durandt, scored a seventh-round knockout victory over Roarke Knapp and Allen stunned Tristan Truter with a savage 10th round TKO triumph.
Thysse’s durability, superb conditioning, quick hands and lightning-quick jab proved to be a handful for Knapp, who was never quite out of it, but seemed to be tiring by the seventh.
Knapp was down three times in that decisive seventh round leaving referee Simon Makadi no option but to wave proceedings over as Knapp took a final blow to the side of the head and sank onto one knee.
Allen, with the astute Peter Smith now in his corner, abandoned his galling switch-hitting habit and proved to be an elusive target to the at-times hesitant Truter, but landed some effective counter-punches off the back foot.
After being given two time-out’s for what were ruled low blows in the seventh and ninth rounds without a point deduction on either occasion, Allen suddenly found his venom in the 10th.
He exploded with a vicious barrage of blows initiated by a left hook to the chin, driving a groggy Truter into a neutral corner before referee David van Nieuwenhuizen waved it over 1:55 into the final stanza.
While many pundits had Truter ahead on points heading into the final round, word is that Allen was in fact ahead on two of the three judges’ scorecards.
In a scrappy junior bantamweight contest which did little justice to the belt at stake and in which both fighters took a standing eight count early on, Ricardo Malajika gained an eighth round TKO victory over the KZN-based champion Mnqobi Mkhize to capture the ABU South belt in only his sixth fight in the paid ranks.