The lack of a knock-out punch put paid to any chance South Africa’s Evans ‘Mamba’ Mbamba and Mexico’s Mario ‘Maca’ Briones may have had of claiming the vacant World Boxing Federation (WBF) junior featherweight title in the headline bout on the World Sport Promotions bill at Graceland on Saturday night. Two judges scored the fight 114-114 and the third 117-111 Mbamba, and the result was declared a majority draw.
From about the seventh round onwards, the action was fast and furious but neither boxer had the ability to end a bout which for most of the way seemed headed for an early finish. Briones came out guns blazing at the expense of a solid defence and Mbamba was presented with numerous chances to hurt his opponent in the first two rounds. He, however, lacked the fire power and that was very much his undoing as the fight wound its course.
Briones took the punches well, and he seemed to be better conditioned on the night. Even after he had taken several blows to the head at various stages of the contest, he fought back with combinations which often left Mbamba counter-punching with his back on the ropes. Mbamba looked most effective at close range but he was unable to impose on the fight as Briones remained composed and used the ring well to ease the pressure. Briones had the greater work rate overall whereas Mbamba seemed intent on pacing himself to last the distance and in the end both boxers would have resigned themselves to the fact that they did not do enough to claim the vacant title.
The other feature bout on the Chesanyama-sponsored bill, ended in a seventh round knock-out win for Australia’s Shannon O’Connell over South Africa’s Gabisile Tshabalala. O’Connell, a bundle of energy from the opening round, ended her quest for the vacant WBF featherweight title with two telling body blows some 36 seconds into the seventh round of their scheduled 10-rounder.
Tshabalala was quite content to play second fiddle as she weathered O’Connell’s bombardment earlier on and she showed some excellent ring craft in the process. However, when O’Connell, who is trained by South Africa’s former world champion Philip Holiday, landed two crushing rights to Tshabalala’s midriff, the contest came to an abrupt end. Tshabalala slumped to the canvas and remained there for a while as medics attended to her.
The full list of undercard results is: Lightweight, 4 rounds: Willis Baloyi (Limpopo) and Mpho Babe (Gauteng) draw Junior middleweight, 4 rounds: Alfonso Tissen (Gauteng) bt Vusi Bilankkulu (KZN), unanimous points win Junior Welterweight, 6 rounds: Botisepe Mandawe (Gauteng) bt Mastercard Manglaza (Gauteng), unanimous points win Lightweight, 4 rounds: Tshifhiwa Timer Munyai (Limpopo) bt Shannon Strydom (Gauteng), majority points decision win Super middleweight, 6 rounds: Vhonani Netshidamboni (Venda) bt Simon Mokwana (Gauteng), unanimous points win Main Bout results: WBF Women’s Featherweight Title, 10 rounds: Shannon ‘Shotgun’ O’Connell (Australia) bt Gabisile ‘Simply The Best’ Tshabalala (SA), KO 7 WBF Junior Featherweight Title, 12 rounds: Evans ‘Mamba’ Mbamba (SA) and Mario ‘Maca’ Briones (Mexico), majority draw.