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December 1st 2011
Muller back on comeback trail
Johnny Muller was off his best, but found a way to win against tough Donald Kampampa

Johnny Muller was off his best, but found a way to win against tough Donald Kampampa

Johnny Muller is back.

The former SA light-heavyweight champion had to survive a horror fifth round, however, as he struggled to overcome the game challenge of Donald Kampamba of Zambia at Emperors Palace last night.

Muller won a unanimous decision by scores of 77-73, 77-74 and 76-74.

The South African boxed superbly for the first four rounds, throwing good combinations and counter-punching to effect against an awkward, ungainly opponent.
While he was winning without dominating, his world threatened to unravel in the fifth when he was dumped on the seat of his pants from a strong left. After taking an eight-count, he was promptly sent to the deck again, this time from a right hand.

Thereafter, it was the Muller of old: bloodied, with a leaky defence and slugging away. Fortunately for him Kampampa had no real idea how to capitalise on his good fortune and Muller was able to evade harm’s way.

An exciting undercard saw unbeaten southpaw Adam De Moor overcome a  stomach upset to beat awkward Emanuel Ndou via TKO in the fourth. De Moor was somewhat off his best, but he took the opening late in the fight to overcome Ndou with a series of punishing body shots.

Warren Joubert was made to work hard against Koos Sibiya and while the eight-rounder concluded with a draw, opinion at ringside was that Sibiya had shaded the affair.
In probably the most impressive performance on Jeff Ellis’ “Christmas Cracker” tournament, heavyweight debutant Kevin Lerena showed fast hands as he overwhelmed Justice Salinga in two.

Confident and composed, Lerena stalked his man before dropping the bomb in the second. Salinga was put down twice and smartly avoided humiliation by staying down after a punishing flurry from the southpaw.

In welterweight action, Zane Mundell lost the first round, but came back nicely to blast Shaun Ness out in the second, a right hand doing the damage.
In the opening bout, Zan Jonker moved to 6-0 with a majority decision against Keith Nkosi. It wasn’t the best of nights for Zonker, who struggled to find his range, but he still had too much against the game Keith Nkosi.

MEANWHILE, the Emperors action will pick up again when Golden Gloves stages “Malice at the Palace” in March.
Promoter Rodney Berman is toying with the idea of matching Joey Stiglingh against Sipho Taliwe, while Flo Simba will also be back in action at cruiserweight.
“It’s going to be a great start to the year,” said Berman, who on Saturday stages his final tournament in Makapanstad.


18 Responses to “Muller back on comeback trail”

  1. December 01, 2011 at 10:34 am, marne said:

    What a great evening! Great stuff, plenty of action! Thank you Jeff and GGP. Sorry Zan I didn’t think you won the fightn, but you gave it your all and that’s all that matters. Nail biting stuff Johnny and you had us worried there for a moment. I was really worried because you didn’t have a fight in six months but you showed much more discipline and focus and came back and deserved the win. Thanks to all the boxers for a night of good boxing.


  2. December 01, 2011 at 10:40 am, Karel said:

    I like Muller but never been a huge fan like some of the fans but one thing I must say, yes he may have been off his best but ask any boxer, to not fight for more than six months is boxing suicide and I think he had it tough but did ok. Thanks Jeff for a most enjoyable evening as always friend!


  3. December 01, 2011 at 12:52 pm, Nat said:

    What a night, superb boxing action! Thanks uncle Jeff, you’ve outdone yourself! Yes Muller fought like a true champ in the first 4 rounds and got cought badly in the 5th. He impressed by staying focussed and threw good combinations. I have to agree, maybe the fans expected more but its a difficult task to get back in rhythm after a rest of 6 mnts. Now he must just keep going and concentrate on his defense. Jonker had a very tough one and was lucky to get a win, I personally thought the judging was wrong. Great fight Adam, you impress every time. Lerena very good debut. Upset was Mundell KO Ness. Excellent boxing by both Warren and Sibiya.


  4. December 01, 2011 at 3:06 pm, John Smith said:

    Golden gloves with Rodney Berman as chief is one of the top promoters in the world. The man has dealt with everyone who’s anyone. However, I’m getting the feeling that we are lacking proper potential world champions. Correct me if I’m wrong but we dont seem to have anybody who’s got the X factor. But Berman has been in boxing since the days of Noah. He can built up a fighter and make him a champion. The problem lies with the amateurs. The amateurs are not being trained properly. Because they’re failing badly in international tournaments. By the time they turn pro, they’ve already developed bad habits due to improper trainer and which is hard to get rid off


  5. December 01, 2011 at 4:39 pm, WP said:

    It was a good night of fun, thanks guys although the decisions with Keith, Koos and Donald were a bit dubious. I must just say that Kevin Lerena looks like the real deal, its so good to see a youngster on his professional debut know how to throw a Jab ( which so many South African boxers forget these days). Another boxer I must commend is Koos Sibaya, that man can box! I have not seen a guy move like him for a while. maybe match him up against Joey Stiglingh, it will look like a boxing match of the old greats.


  6. December 01, 2011 at 4:53 pm, fan of "babybeast" said:

    Was a great show, brilliant fight…but keith nkosi deserved a win there’s no way he lost that… A re-match would be good. Thanks


  7. December 01, 2011 at 8:20 pm, Piston said:

    There is a reason why the EFC is so popular and Boxing is at such a slump. Not sure what fight the judges were watching but Keith dominated and lost. Reminds me of Roy Jones Jr in the Olympics. No Matter what you do unless you knock your opponent out you not going to win. If Boxing in South Africa is serious about getting back into popularity lets see a rematch. Maybe in P.E or something, Maybe there the judges will wear their glasses. Anyone who was there would have noticed what a mood killer that was, it took a long time for the crowd to start enjoying it again.


    • December 06, 2011 at 9:49 pm, Dilo said:

      > EFC, yes i have heard about it and seen a few delayed tournaments on TV. You just see grudge fights between SA fighters. Boxing have a rich history and we can go back a hundred years and would no who the world champions were. We have legends of the sport who the world no. ali, forman, robinson, leonard, pacquiao to name just a few. In SA we have boxers who are legends. Tobhela, malinga, mitchell, bungu, ledwaba, Matlala. pound for pound best fighters in the world earn a minimum 5mil USD per fight. Any1 who holds the heavyweight title earns min 20mil per fight. Boxing is not in a slump. The boxing administrators , judges (as u said), some promoters , broadcasters (sabc) in SA give boxing a bad name… Maybe in 20 years, when EFC has a history and we no who world champs are and learn more about the sport, it could grow amongst the black SA population, but it would never outgrow boxing. cheers


  8. December 01, 2011 at 11:39 pm, dilo said:

    Good boxing, well run evening, judging needs som improvement, but no boxer excited me or showed enough talent to be a world champion. I could not find that x factor. Cheers


  9. December 03, 2011 at 10:37 am, Pual Mac Man said:

    Well done to all the boxers on the night.

    Zan VS Ness, Ness out boxed Zan all the way, but Zans power was to much at the end.
    Zan don’t get to smart out the ring,you not World Champion!

    Johnny looked good from the start and drope he’s hands as he does when he gets confident.
    Johnny has lots of heart and came back.
    One thing we have to learn here is that we as fans put to much Hype on these young men and this is the result.
    They are young and are still finding there feet in the ring.
    I for one love being a Boxing Fan.
    keep up the good work boys


  10. December 05, 2011 at 12:14 pm, Pierre said:

    Piston, in South African boxing, judges generally follow the script in a shameless manner, no matter what happens in the ring. They always favour the prospect, the house favourite, the undefeated fighter, the fighter who the promoter stands to make money from. Look at a judge like Lulama Mtya – the worst judge inSouth Africa, by far. Recently, he gave Ali Funeka the decision over Zolani Marali after Marali dominated from the early-middlke rounds onwards and sent Funeka to the canvas. A couple of months ago, in an even more disgusting display, he gave Chris van Heerden the decision against Kaizer Mabuza when in reality Mabuza won the fight in one-sided fashion. Mtya was also one of the judges who gave Hekkie Budler his first “win” over Juanito Ruballar after Hekkie had taken a painful beating. Someone like Mtya has no shame, and cannot be taught to put the interests of boxing ahead of his blatant favouritism. He should be banished from the sport, along with several other judges I could name.


    • December 06, 2011 at 9:38 pm, Dilo said:

      > excellent comment. agree


  11. December 05, 2011 at 12:49 pm, ben said:

    Superb job Jeff, great night of boxing. It certainly wasn’t the same as the 30th but great boxing nonetheless. Lerena shows potential and has to be handled well and not pushed because his debut was won with a KO. Zan had a difficult fight and I’m still wondering about the score cards. He has heart and I admire him for that. Johnny was looking like the old Muller for the first 4 rnds but was still holding back. I do believe coming back after a KO defeat after 6 months of not fighting was extremely difficult. He showed heart and courage and above all discipline. I disagree with the writer (I didn’t see him slugging away) but saw him showing composure and winning against a very awkward opponent.


  12. December 05, 2011 at 12:54 pm, Jason said:

    Funny this write up about Muller is the very same one appearing in the Zambia Times, and not very flattering for Muller. According to Muller’s opponent’s promotor, Donald won by a mile and the croud were booing Muller all the way. Such a load of crap! Oh and Donald’s record according to Zambia Times is 7-3-1. Congratulations to all boxers and that you for a very enjoyable evening.


  13. December 05, 2011 at 12:59 pm, Tanya said:

    We had such a great evening, thanks Jeff. Thank you to all the boxers who boxed their hearts out to give us fans value for our money! I do believe that if GGP really wants Muller to make a real come back he can’t wait over 6 months for a fight. Johnny needs to keep his hands up and protect himself against such an awkward boxer. He showed focus after being down twice and came back and boxed on.


  14. December 05, 2011 at 1:02 pm, Zain said:

    A win is a win Johnny but you need to protect yourself bro! Congrats, you came out of that bloodied war the winner!


  15. December 05, 2011 at 10:23 pm, mike said:

    i am a huge kevin lerena fan , he throwas hes jab , but combos with speed, and can take a punch , maybe a year down the line i wud pay to see him fight flo simba, lerena is only 19 tho , but he made a mark on the 30th to small for a heavyweight , maybe cruiserweight


  16. December 06, 2011 at 12:43 pm, Shawns said:

    LOL Jason I saw the very same article in the Zambia times and Africa times, except the article above doesn’t have all of us booeing Muller, nonsense! I heard cheers not booing. A very hard fight for Muller but he boxed his way out of this one, not slug his way out!


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