Paulus Ambunda retained his WBO African bantamweight title by the skin of his teeth as he beat Bongani Mahlangu of South Africa on a split decision on points on Saturday evening.
Two of the judges scored the fight 115-113 in Ambunda’s favour while a third scored it 115-113 in Mahlangu’s favour at the end of their 12-round encounter.
Ambunda chased Mahlangu for most of the fight, trying to land his big punches but the South African used his greater reach to good effect, moving out of trouble and keeping Ambunda at bay with an effective jab.
Ambunda did manage to land some big blows but the experienced Mahlangu soon got out of trouble and also landed some quick combinations of his own.
After a quiet opening round, the fight exploded into action in the second as both boxers landed some big shots to bring the capacity crowd up onto its feet cheering for more.
Ambunda continued to push forward for most of the early rounds and by the sixth once again landed some big blows. But Mahlangu kept on jabbing away and moving out of trouble.
In the seventh round Ambunda once again landed some big shots and it seemed that Mahlangu was in trouble but he soon recovered, while Ambunda also missed a lot with some big haymakers.
By the ninth round Mahlangu started running away from Ambunda, who was clearly frustrated that he could not find the target.
In the 12th and final round Mahlangu landed a big right but Ambunda quickly recovered and once again chased the South African for most of the round, while Mahlangu responded with some jabs.
Mahlangu was an awkward opponent for Ambunda who chased for most of the fight and could seldom land clean punches. However his work rate and power counted in his favour as he took the decision by the narrowest of margins.
Ambunda is now unbeaten after 17 professional fights, while it was Mahlangu’s second defeat in 17 pro fights.
The main supporting bout between Namibia’s WBO African Interim Welterweight champion Tyson Uushona and Francis Gakpetor of Ghana ended in a technical draw after an accidental clash of heads in the second round put an end to the fight. Gakpetor opened up a cut above his left eye and with blood streaming down his face the ring side doctor put an end to the fight.
Before then Gakpetor landed some big blows in the first round but they did not trouble Uushona much, who showed his experience by moving of trouble.
Namibia’s WBO African Interim Super Middleweight champion Wilbeforce Shihepo beat Johannes Pieterson of South Africa on a fifth round technical knockout when Pieterson failed to come out for the sixth round.
The powerful Shihepo wore his opponent down with some big blows but he also missed a lot, against the South African, who held on a lot.
The results of other fights were as follows:
In a flyweight fight, Abmerk Shindjuu of Namibia beat Tinashe Madziwana of Zimbabwe on a unanimous points decision over six rounds.
In a lightweight fight Julius Indongo of Namibia beat Silas Mandeya of Zimbabwe on a unanimous points decision over six rounds.
In a lightweight fight Samuel Kapapu of Namibia beat Tawand Chigwida of Zimbabwe on a unanimous points decision over six rounds.
In a welterweight fight, Anthony Jaarman of Namibia beat Dumezweni Ntuliki of Zimbabwe on a unanimous points decision over four rounds.
In a catchweight fight David Egumbo of Namibia beat Ntando Sibanda of Zimbabwe on a unanimous points decision over four rounds.