Slovenia´s Ema Kozin was pencilled in to defend her World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Middleweight title against South African Mapule Ngubane on Sunday, July 8, in Budapest, Hungary. Instead she ended up re-matching former IBF world titlist Eva Bajic from Serbia.
Kozin had also been scheduled to face Ngubane in March, but due to visa problems she took on Bajic instead, on short notice, and retained the WBF world championship by fifth round stoppage. This time, the exact same thing happened, no visa for Ngubane and in stepped Bajic at the last minute.
Since their first bout, Bajic returned with a victory in Hungary, but also lost decisions to IBO world champion Mikaela Lauren in Sweden and WIBA world champion Layla McCarter in Germany, solidifying the outcome of the first Kozin vs. Bajic fight as a very good performance by the 19-year-old from Ljubljana.
Despite being a mediocre 14-13 (9) going in, Bajic, who held the IBF World Welterweight title in 2013 and never lost it in the ring, was certainly a worthy late substitute, but it was more or less expected that things would turn out the same way as in their original encounter.
However, Bajic appeared to be determined to do better this time, and gave Kozin a much harder time. She fought well, and even had her moments of success, testing the champion and making it a good fight. Kozin was still the better of the two, landing the cleaner shots, but Bajic did herself proud.
After ten rounds it was clear that Kozin, who improved her record to 14-0 (8), had retained her title by a decent margin, and judges Bulcsu Gabris and Miklos Dory accurately scored it 97-93 and 97-94 in her favour.
Unfortunately judge Emeke Halas must have been watching from the bar, as she didn’t give a single round to Kozin and inexcusably scored the fight 100-90 for BAJIC, making it a totally misleading, unjustifiable split decision.
Results: Vladyslav Sirenko destroys Knife Didier
The Mistico Equestrian Center in Paarl, South Africa, about sixty kilometres from Cape Town, set the scene for two World Boxing Federation (WBF) championship fights on Friday night, June 28, promoted by Kalakoda Promotions and televised live by Kwesé Sports.
Billed as “Seek & Destroy”, the evenings main event had heavyweight-punchers Knife Didier and Vladyslav Sirenko, from D.R. Congo and Ukraine respectively but both fighting out of South Africa, square off for the vacant WBF International Heavyweight title.
Seek and destroy is exactly what 23-year-old former amateur-standout Sirenko did, taking his record to 8-0 (7) in devastating fashion by completely obliterating the normally teak-tough Didier only 57 seconds into the first round.
Having gone ten tough rounds with WBF All Africa champion Elvis Moyo last time out, no-one imagined Didier, now 6-4 (5), getting dispatched this quickly, and Sirenko very much looks like the real deal. All his stoppages have come in the very first round!
The co-featured attraction saw WBF All Africa Welterweight Champion Antonio Mayala barely retain his title with a three-way split draw against the very capable, and unbeaten, Benoit “Super Rico” Makangila Vela from D.R. Congo.
It was a very close fight overall, with the slicker Makangila Vela taking control of the first half of the fight, and Mayala coming on strong to even things out in the second half. In all fairness an argument could be made for both men, which the scores reflected accurately.
Judge Eddie Marshal scored the fight 96-94 for the defending champion, while Judge Elroy Marshall disagreed with his father and saw it the other way around, 96-94 for Makangila Vela. Judge Darryl Ribbink had it all even at 95-95.
Born in Angola but based in Cape Town, Mayala´s record now stand at 9-3-1 (6). Makangila Vela, fighting outside his home-town of Kinshasa for the first time, goes to 14-0-2 (7) and could have a very bright future if given the right opportunities.