Khayelitsha’s OR Tambo Hall resembled a battlefield as it hosted the Dream Team, Lyon and Amandla Promotions’ “Fighting for Hope” professional boxing tournament, on Friday.
And, one of the biggest winners of the night was none other than Luvuyo Boxing Club sensation, Khayelitsha’s own Mzuvukile “Old Bones” Magwaca, who is slowly developing a reputation for being one of the best fighters coming out of Cape Town.
The calm and highly talented fighter clinched the vacant World Boxing Federation (WBF) bantamweight title after beating the Phillipines’ Jason Canoy, on split decision, in their 12- rounder.
The fans were treated to boxing action of the highest quality right from the first bell as all the fights produced fireworks. There was also no shortage of drama as some fighters won their battles on TKOs (technical knockouts) and others by KOs (knockouts).
Before Magwaca took to the ring, Limpopo’s Bukine “Anaconda” Nonina also staked her claim on the WBF women’s bantamweight division, defeating Germany’s Alesia Graf to be crowned world champion.
Former heavyweight world champion Francois “White Buffalo” Botha also took to the ring for a charity grudge match against Germany’s Uwe “The Heavy Hammer” Huck.
All eyes soon turned to the Magwaca/Canoy showdown. Battling out in the main bout – in the night that saw no less than nine bouts taking place – both fighters had the fans on the edge of their seats with their contrasting styles.
Magwaca, on one hand, was the calmer and more tactical of the two boxers, using his obvious reach advantage and superior movement to his favour. Canoy, on the other hand, was more aggressive, trying to out-power his opponent.
That did put him in trouble for most parts of the fight as he tended to keep his guard down, which allowed Magwaca to capitalise.
Having said that, however, the stocky Filipino’s stamina and high level of endurance meant that Magwaca was unable to take him down, despite having a number of opportunities to do so – he just stood his ground.
With 32 professional fights under his belt, with 16 wins via knockout, compared to Old Bones’s 18 pro bouts, Canoy was the more experienced of the two going into the fight.
He tried to stamp his authority from the word go, taking the fight Magwaca, who had the home crowd chanting his name.
The fighter from trainer Zola Koti’s stable in Site C, looked unfazed by the occasion and quietly went about his business.
He made sure, rather than throwing combinations hopelessly, that each punch he threw counted.
And, at some point, with Conoy almost unconscious, it looked like Magwaca was about to send him to the canvas.
But, instead of being overzealous in the attempt to knock his opponent down, he treated the situation with caution. Supporters’ opinions were divided in this situation.
Some felt that he could have taken Canoy down, right then. Others, that it could have been suicidal as Canoy was just waiting for Magwaca to open up. The fight went the distance and, in the end, two of the three judges scored the fight in favour of Magwaca, much to the delight of the fans who, by that time, wanted a piece of their hero.
Old Bones admitted after the fight that Canoy was a tough customer but sticking to their plan saw them through up to the end of the fight.
“It was not easy out there but we came with a plan which helped us counter everything he threw at us,” he said.