It was Mission Accomplished for Insane Boxing's top-level event in more ways than one.
In the build-up to the showcase, dubbed Cape Town Rise, which took place at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in Bellville this past weekend, one of the most hyped features of the exhibition was the fact that local boxers would get to showcase their talent on home soil. That - as well as the point that they would get to do their thing in the ring on a large scale - made the occasion a much-anticipated one.
And it sure delivered.
The event was the biggest one hosted in the Mother City in over six years, and it was a privilege that local fighters no doubt would have enjoyed.
At the 1000-plus capacity venue, fighters weren't left to wonder about the level of excitement the campus venue had built up prior to the bell sounding for the opening fight.
As soon as you entered the site, the song and dance of pumped-up fans permeated through the enclosure, and the Gwijo-squad-type vibe was heightened even more as supporters welcomed their favorite boxers as they made their way to the squared circle.
The main event saw the Eastern Cape’s Zolisa Batyi retain his South African Featherweight title, recording a majority draw (115-114, 114-114, 114-114) with the Western Cape’s Abdul-Aziz Kunert after a grueling 12 rounds.
Despite Kunert practicing better distance control, Batyi did well to close the distance, placing the former Featherweight title contender under pressure in the early rounds, aggressively coming forward, landing hard body shots, and utilizing his jab to great effect.
Kunert managed to find his rhythm in the middle rounds, and in one exchange, he dropped a beautiful sharp straight right from the outside before rolling out some cheeky potshots.
After that, the two main-event stars went toe-to-toe, where the champion seemed to get the better of the contender. Batyi then seemed to fatigue a bit in the later rounds, which played in Kunert’s favor as the Cape Town boxer initiated a high-level boxing game, showcasing his boxing artillery with some classy jabs, uppercuts, and hooks to the head and body of Batyi, who seemed to lose his composure.
In the ninth and tenth rounds, Batyi seemed to catch his second breath, landing a well-timed right hook and straight left combo. The champion pinned Kunert into the corner at one point before the latter showcased his sniper ability, once again with a well-timed double right uppercut.
In the end, Batyi was the more active athlete, with a high volume work rate and more effective power punches landed, while Kunert produced a classy and economical.
In the co-main event, one of South Africa’s favorite boxing sons and former IBF Bantamweight inter-continental champion Mvuzile Magwaca secured another title when he made light work of Nasiphi Mdlangazi with a first-round KO to earn the Western Cape Provincial Junior Featherweight belt.
Alex Kabangu from the Democratic Republic of the Congo beat Capetonian Dillon Solomons by unanimous decision in an eight-round Super Middleweight fixture, while Dylan Prosser wasted no time as he defeated Henry Muyaya via TKO in round one of the Light-Heavyweight bout.
In the Junior Middleweight fight, Emile Brits stopped Nicholas Jooga from Uganda via TKO in the second round.