Wednesday, 30 March 2011

A Night at the Fights featuring Martin Power versus Tshifhiwa Munyai

Top of the bill for this Maloney Fight Factory promotion was the contest for the vacant Commonwealth bantamweight title between Britain’s Martin Power and Tshifhiwa Munyai of South Africa.

Power, from the St. Pancreas district of London, fought gamely and aggressively; aided in this matter by the raucous cheers of his fans. In the fourth round a succession of punches managed to dislodge the South African's gumshield. 

The lankily-built Munyai endeavoured to keep the fight from a distance so as to utilise his range to disrupt and disorganise Power's rushes. Such was the pressure that Martin was applying that in the following round, a left hook from which Munyai was retreating caused Munyai to stumble to the canvas. 

The referee was quick to rule it as not a knockdown.The contest continued with a series of intense exchanges between both fighters but Munyai did not appear to be overawed. Indeed, while the crowd cheered every connecting punch delivered from Power, his opponent did Power's condition no good with a tremendous right to the jaw in the sixth and a succession of hooks, uppercuts and body punches in the seventh.

Munyai began to outwork Power and it was apparent that he was becoming the more resilient while Power's features bore more ominous signs of distress.

A series of unanswered combination punches administered by the South African led the referee, Victor Loughlin to call a halt to the proceedings. The response from a hardcore of Power's supporters was vitriolic.

They felt that the fight was stopped too soon and would have felt further aggrieved by the discovery that two judges had their fighter ahead. It might not be unreasonable to feel suspicious of occasions when Munyai's gumshield became dislodged during key moments in the fight entitling him to something of a respite.

They chanted disparaging references at the referee and booed the victor but reason appeared to resume its seat when Munyai brought Power over and the jeers were punctuated by a resounding series of clapping.

The bill also included an intriguing contest between two African welterweights, the Nigerian, Olusegun Ajose and Ali Nuumbembe, 28 years of age, from Namibia. This was something of a “trade fight’, one that matches a pair of undefeated and proficient fighters.

Ajose, a boxer who confidently and consistently espouses an urge to take on all contenders in his division, came into the fight following the successive withdrawals of Ted Bami and then Colin Lynes. 

Undefeated in sixteen professional contests, he knew that he would be facing stern opposition from a Namibian foe who would outweigh and outreach him. The sense of anticipation among the crowd was palpable, as mutters of “This is going to be a good fight” appeared to do the rounds in the press area.

Indeed, when the “Silent Assassin,’ as Nuumbembe is known, sent Ajose staggering from a first round uppercut, concurring mutters of this “kid looks the business” assured all of intense battle that would ensue. Ajose was not hurt, but his opponent was persistent in advancing and Ajose, always remaining composed, contented himself by responding with well calibrated counter punches.

By round four, the 26-year-old Ajose was showboating in a manner not unlike Roy Jones and scored with a jab and followed up with a ferocious left hook to the Namibian’s jaw.

His reflexes are remarkable given that he was making the taller man miss by yards and while most would consider such a stratagem dangerous, and even foolhardy, Ajose struck with devastating power in the sixth when a straight left delivered from his southpaw stance was followed by a furious combination that put Nuumbembe flat on his back.

He was counted out while he bravely struggled in a vain attempt to rise. In his dressing room, Ajose, the African Boxing Union Welterweight titleholder, expressed a hope of fighting for the Commonwelth title in October.

In other bouts, Nathan Weise scored a points decision over Bheki Moyo in a light welterweight four-rounder, French bantamweight, Frederic Gosset won on points against Matthew March over six rounds as did Dai Davies over Jed “Tiger’ Syger in a super featherweight contest. Akash Bhatia, in his second professional fight won a points decision over the sturdy Ukrainian Nikita Lukin.

(c) 2006 Adeyinka Makinde

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