Campbell’s class carries him home

Rowan Campbell on his way to winning the SA super-middleweight title against Renson Hobyani. All pics courtesy N-SQUARED

Faced with an opponent who cared less about winning than clowning, Rowan Campbell duly did the business to beat Renson Hobyani on points to claim the vacant SA super-middleweight championship at Emperors Palace on Friday night.

Campbell refused to be side-tracked as he played the aggressor, walking down his opponent and getting off punches to better effect. Hobyani had his moments, but he opted in the main to throw lazy jabs and wild punches. The irony is that he can fight – he just chose not to.

That two of the judges had Campbell narrowly winning was absurd – 114-113, 115-113 – but the third had it bang on with a 116-111 card.

Just as well Campbell put Hobyani over with a heavy shot in the 11th; he’d have eked it otherwise.

Fighting with a high guard, Campbell asserted his strength early, crowding Hobyani who opted to tie him up rather than use his longer arms and jab. It was a style that frustrated Campbell, but he chose to press the action rather than be disheartened.

Demonstrating good upper body movement, Campbell paced himself well and showed effective ring management, impressive given that this was just his eighth pro fight.

There were few highlights, although Campbell threw a peach of an overhand right in the 10th that crashed into Hobyani’s jaw and thrilled the large crowd. He came close to a knockout in the next round, but Hobyani’s pride got him up in time and he was content to back pedal his way out of further trouble.

GROTH GRINDS DOWN MULDER
In the main undercard bout, Wade Groth claimed the interim SA middleweight championship with a sixth-round TKO of Wynand Mulder.

Groth took his time and carefully dissected southpaw Mulder, who began to bust up in the third and had no answer to Groth’s combinations and heavy right hand.

Mulder looked sharp early on when he got up on his toes and stayed behind the jab, but Groth found openings early. Groth’s pressure game was perfect: Mulder couldn’t cope with the bombardment and when he buckled in the sixth, he looked a broken man.

It was a fun fight while it lasted and both deserve credit for mixing it, giving the crowd good reason to step out on a freezing Highveld night.

It’s all over as Wynand Mulder’s fight against Wade Groth is waved off.

GOMES GETS STARTED IN STYLE
Given that Keaton Gomes spent the better part of six months in camp, he probably expected more than 90-odd seconds of action against Moses Bila in their cruiserweight contest.

Trouble was, Gomes has heavy hands and Bila’s chin isn’t cut out for this business. Gomes, looking fit and strong, put him over with the first right hand he threw. Bila got up, only to be sent south again with another clipping right hand. For good measure, Gomes landed another, forcing the referee’s intervention for a first-round TKO win.

It’s just as well Gomes fights against September 1 – he already looks the part.

Keaton Gomes begins his blitzkrieg against Moses Bila.

EARLY ACTION . . .
Earlier, Sebastiaan Rothmann’s junior-welterweight, Jabulane Makhense, looked excellent in winning his four-rounder in a shutout over Siya Mabena.

And southpaw Jay Jay Sonjica continued the bright start to his pro career with a first-round blowout of Deon Mbumbana, who never saw the heavy straight left hand that put him to sleep.

Jay Jay Sonjica forces Deon Mbumbana to cover up.

RINGSIDE
An impressive R67 000 was raised for the Reach for a Dream foundation through the auction of three prized items, framed and signed gloves of the Klitschkos and Corrie Sanders; the gloves of Brian Mitchell and Kevin Lerena; and, gloves of middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk and heavyweight king Anthony Joshua.

Also, tribute was paid to boxing historian Ron Jackson, who was applauded for his services to boxing.