On Friday night, September 8, World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Middleweight Champion Diego Diaz Gallardo defended his title for the first time against Brazilian Felipe Santos Pedroso at the Estadio Ciudad de Santiago del Estero, in his home-town of Santiago del Estero, Argentina.
Having prepared diligently with a tough training-camp in Los Angeles, Diaz Gallardo came out determined and tried to impose his will on Pedroso from the start, often forcing him on the back-foot and throwing hard shots. Especially the over-hand right was effective for the defending champion.
Pedros had some good moments where he had Diaz Gallardo with his back on the ropes, but the home-man always came back strong to take control. It was the over-hand right which made the big difference in round eight, as Diaz Gallardo connected with a hard one that staggered Pedroso.
Diaz Gallardo followed up and had Pedroso in major problems throughout the remainder of the round, but the Brazilian was tough and made it to the end. He also stood up to start round nine, but referee Martin Carnevale Sosa quickly waived it off when he saw Pedrosa was still very unsteady on his feet.
The fight televised in Argentina by TNT Sports and broadcast world-wide via free web-stream, Diaz Gallardo (37) improved his professional ledger to 22-5-1 (13). 30-year-old Santos Pedroso travels back to Sao Jose dos Pinhas at 13-3 (11).
A few hours earlier on Friday evening, at the Kagios Memorial and Recreation Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, WBF Womens World Super Welterweight Champion Noni Tenge fended off the challenge of game compatriot Mapule Ngubane.
Tenge, who took her record to 18-1-1 (10), was a step ahead of South African Middleweight champion Ngubane, now 6-5-3 (1), and simply the better technician as she boxed her way to a unanimous decision. In round eight she scored a flash knock-down with a left hook, but Ngubane had no problems beating the count of referee Siya Vabaza.
Judges Phumeza Zinakile and Sylvia Mokaila both scored the fight 97-92, while judge Boitumelo Madiba had it a bit wider at 98-91.
On the same show, former WBF Womens World Super Bantamweight Champion Unathi Myekeni captured the vacant WBF World Featherweight title when she beat late substitute, and reigning WBF International Champion Asandiswa Nxukwena almost exactly seven years removed from her first world title-win.
This was a rematch of a fight for the South African national title earlier this year, where Nxukwena stopped Myekeni in nine rounds. Myekeni was originally scheduled to fight Ruth Chisale, but the Malawian was unable to make the weight, and Nxukwena stepped in on a few days notice.
The world title was left vacant when former champion Angelique Duchemin tragically died from a heat-attack during a training-session in late August, and the French boxer was appropriately honoured with a minute of silence in Johannesburg.
Myekeni had the upper hand this time, and, knowing that Nxukwena had the tools to beat her, she boxed well from start to finish to win a clear unanimous decision by scores of 98-92 (Namhla Tuyaluba), 98-92 (Siya Vabaza) and 97-93 (Sylvia Mokaila). Referee was Phumeza Zinakile.
Unathi “Showtime” Myekeni is now 11-4-1 (5), and Nxukwena, who had not lost since her pro debut, drops to 6-2-1 (3). The WBF World Championship double-header, billed as “Women Only”, was promoted by 2015 WBF Promoter of the Year Mbali Zantsi.