Kamanga delivers a cracker

For the winning fighter there was the recognition that the buzz is perhaps justified. The loser, likely to join a long list of hype-jobs after a second loss in as many fights.

It was Paul Kamanga who continued his march to the top with an impressive stoppage of Roman Zhailauov to annex the WBA Pan African welterweight strap at Emperors Palace in midweek.

But it wasn’t plain sailing for the 22-year-old who had to pick himself up off the canvas after a sweetly timed left hook by his Kazakstan-based opponent caught him flush in the second round.

That only served to force Kamanga to stick to his guns and the game plan worked out by his corner, manned by Anton Gilmore, was brilliantly executed on the night. His approach was to try and keep his foe at bay with a bevy of uppercuts and stiff shots to the body.

By the time the bell went in the third round, Zhailauov had a massive welt under his right eye which only worsened as the fight wore on before eventually forcing his eye shut.

As game as the visitor was though he eventually needed assistance from referee Jaap van Niewenhuizen who eventually waved the action off in the fifth round.

There was also an impressive performance from Warren Joubert as he responded in the best way possible since losing his South African junior-welterweight title with a unanimous decision win over Jason Bedeman.

Joubert took the smart approach and picked his punches well, allowing Bedeman to come at him before scoring on the counter. Bedpan landed several telling blows but none had any real effect with the judges eventually scoring it 77-76 and two cards of 77-75.

Victory here could go a long way in setting Joubert up with an opportunity to reclaim the title he surrendered with a rematch against Grant Fourie in the early part of next year.

In other fights on the night, Dee Jay Kriel had his record inflated with a TKO win over Thabo Moabi in a bout that was dampened by the early stoppage by referee Simon Mokadi. Kriel was always going to take the fight and had been in control but not enough to warrant the abrupt ending.

Brandon Thysse and Joshua Studdard earned stoppage wins while Dair Zhailauov took a split-points decision over debutant Akoha Dibi.

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