Hekkie Budler is the Supersport.com South African boxer of the year for 2015. Budler stood out in in one of the poorest years in the history of South African boxing, especially on the world scene. However, due the high cost of importing top class fighters to South Africa promoters can only afford to promote fights with the lesser world bodies.
It is a rather sad indictment of the current depression in South African boxing when three of the most outstanding fighters in recent years, like former world champions Zolani Tete and Simphiwe Vetyeka and current IBO flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane, have only had four fights between them in 2015.
Mthalane has only had one fight in 2015 and Tete has had two fights and Vetyeka one. At the end of the year, six South Africans were listed as “world” champions.
They were Budler (IBO strawweight and WBA minimum weight titles), Lusanda Komanisi (IBO featherweight), Tsiko Mulovhedzi (IBO welterweight), Xolisani Ndongeni (IBO lightweight), Moruti Mthalane (IBO flyweight) and Gideon Buthelezi (IBO junior bantamweight).
Budler, the only South African to hold one of major organisation titles, was once again the most active champion, defending and retaining his IBO and WBA titles on two occasions and enhancing his status as a crowd-pleasing role-model fighter.
Komanisi one of the other stars of the year retained IBO featherweight belt with a knockout victory over Roli Gasca in a return match.
Despite tough conditions in a poor economic climate, the promoters kept the sport afloat. They staged 20 national title bouts and 9 “world” title fights, with a number being televised live on SuperSport.
In three of the 17 divisions in South Africa there were no title fights and in seven only one.
Twelve South Africans fought in 14 “world” title fights, winning 10 and losing two. Rather sadly Tommy Oosthuizen forfeited his IBO light heavyweight title when he came in overweight for the defence against Robert Berridge.
SUPERBOXING’S 2015 AWARDS
Boxer of the Year: Hekkie Budler.
Fight of the Year: Hekkie Budler against Simphiwe Khonco. Budler won on points to retain the WBA and IBO minimumweight titles. The fight that came a close second was Grant Fourie against Warren Joubert for the South African junior welterweight title. Fourie won on points to claim the title.
Prospect of the Year: The two standout young fighters in 2015 were junior middleweight Hansie Carr and minimumweight Siyabongo Siyo.
Promoter of the Year: Andile Sinidile of Sijuta Promotions who has produced some good shows in East London. Honourable mention must be given to Rodney Berman and Jeff Ellis as they continued to keep interest in SA boxing alive and provided SA boxers with opportunities in unfavourable times.
Upset of the Year: Former two-time world champion Ali Funeka’s fifth round stoppage loss to fellow South African Tsiko Mulovhedzi for the IBO welterweight title. They fought in East London.
Mismatch of the Year: Paul Kamanga against Roman Zhailauov for the vacant WBA Pan African welterweight title. Zhailauov was stopped in the fifth round after receiving a battering.
Saddest moment of the year: The death of Mzwanele Nkompolo who died at the Frere Hospital in East London after being knocked out in the first round by Siphenathi Qampi.
Worst decision of the year: The points decision in favour of Johnny Muller against Mateusz Masternak on June 6 at Emperors Palace, Kempton Park. .
Best fight venue: The Orient Theatre in East London which is aptly described as “The Mecca of Boxing”.
Media: SuperSport again made it possible for boxing enthusiasts in South Africa and the rest of Africa to watch live television coverage, as well as repeat broadcasts, of SA tournaments and many notable fights abroad.
Boxing writers Bongani Magasela and Mesuli Zifo have made a major contribution in reporting on the sport in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape
RESULTS OF ALL SA TITLE FIGHTS IN 2015
Heavyweight: August 15 – Anton Nel beat Donovan Luff, tko 1, Kempton Park.
Junior heavyweight: July 30 – Kevin Lerena beat Deon Coetzee, pts 12 at Kempton Park.
Light heavyweight: September 19 – Ryno Liebenberg beat Makhosonke Zwengu, ko 2 at Kempton Park.
Middleweight: No fights took place.
Junior middleweight: No fights took place.
Welterweight: April 24-Tsiko Mulovhedzi beat Mzolisi Yoyo, tko 5 at East London.
October 23-Shaun Ness beat Anelisa Gungqisa, pts 12 at Port Elizabeth.
Junior welterweight: April 13-Warren Joubert beat Lungisa Jikani, pts 12 at Kempton Park.
July 30 – Grant Fourie beat Warren Joubert, pts 12 at Kempton Park.
Lightweight: October 16 – Mzonke Fana beat Sipho Taliwe, pts 12 at East London. (Interim title not recognised in terms of SA Boxing Act)
Junior lightweight: March 14 – Jasper Seroke beat Ashley Dlamini, tko 7 at Kempton Park.
August 30 – Jasper Seroke beat Koos Sibiya, pts 12 at Mdantsane.
October 17-Jasper Seroka beat David Rajiuli, tko 10 at Mahikeng.
Featherweight: June 22-Oscar Chauke beat Prince Ndlovu, pts 12 at Giyani.
November 27 – Macbute Sinyabi beat Oscar Chauke, pts 12 at East London.
Junior featherweight: March 22 – Bongani Mahlangu beat Siviwe Hasheni, tko 9 at Mdantsane. September 29 – Bongani Mahlangu beat Mfusi Maxhaji, pts 12 at East London.
Bantamweight: August 30 – Toto Helebe beat Thabo Sishwana, tko 6 at Mdantsane.
Junior bantamweight: November 27 – Thembelani Maphuma draw 12 Lindile Tshemese at East London. (The Boxing SA officials failed to apply rule 35(4) of the South African Boxing Regulations for a vacant title, which states – In a championship fight for a vacant title, each judge shall nominate a winner and the winner of the bout shall be the boxer nominated as the winner by the majority vote of the judges.)
Flyweight: No fights took place.
Junior flyweight: April 24-Bongani Silila beat Luyanda Mvula, tko 2 at East London.
July 24 – Bongani Silila beat Lithemba Goja, ko 3 at East London.
November 27 – Vuyani Kheswa beat Bongani Silila, tko 11 at East London.
Minimumweight: July 24-Duluxolo Mancotywa beat Lonwabo Roboshi, tko 8 at East London.
SA BOXERS IN ‘WORLD’ TITLE FIGHTS IN 2015
February 21 – Hekkie Budler beat Jesus Silvestre, pts 12 at Monte Carlo. (WBA /IBO minimumweight titles).
March 6 – Zolani Tete beat Paul Butler, tko 8 at Liverpool, England. (IBF junior bantamweight title)
March 14 – Tommy Oosthuizen beat Ryno Liebenberg, pts 12 at Kempton Park. (IBO light heavyweight title).
March 22 – Nkosinathi Joyi lost to Rey Loreto tko 1, at Mdantsane. (IBO junior flyweight title).
Jun 6 – Tommy Oosthuizen beat Robert Berridge, pts 12 at Kempton Park. (IBO light heavyweight title – Oosthuizen came in overweight and stripped of the title)
Jun 19 – Nkululeko Mhlongo lost to Isaac Rodriguez, pts 12 at Belem, Para, Brazil. (WBF middleweight title).
Jul 24 – Lwandile Sityatha beat Gideon Buthelezi, pts 12, at East London, (IBO junior bantamweight title).
Jul 24 – Tsiko Mulovhedzi beat Ali Funeka, tko 5, at East London. (IBO welterweight title).
Sep 19 – Hekkie Budler beat Simphiwe Khonco, pts 12 at Kempton Park, (WBA/IBO minimumweight titles).
October 16 – Lusanda Komanisi beat Roli Gasca, ko 5 at East London (IBO featherweight title)
Nov 28 – Xolisani Ndongeni beat Jasper Seroka, tko 9 at East London (IBO lightweight title).
Dec 12 – Moruti Mthalane beat Renz Rosia, tko 9 at Durban (IBO flyweight title).
Dec 18 – Gideon Buthelezi beat Makazole Tete, pts 12 at East London (IBO super flyweight title).
Among the former SA boxers and boxing personalities who died in 2015 were Cedric Kushner, Ginger Nel, Darius Dlomo, Boitshepo Mandawe, Lwanda Molwana, Mzwanele Nkompolo, Jason Radebe and Simon “Young Batter” Mbatha.