Kupula gets up from canvas to beat Mokwana

Raymond Kupula and Thompson Mokwana.

Raymond Kupula got off the canvas to dominate Thompson Mokwana in a six round junior welterweight fight at Turffontein Racecourse, on Sunday.

Kupula’s first fight since 2018 started off with problems when a Mokwana right hand sent him to the floor. The fighter from the Democratic Republic of Congo seemed to be in trouble but he managed to recover.

After that first round he took control as he landed the cleaner punches and won comfortably.

The judges, however, had the fight a lot closer than it appeared to most of the crowd. Kupula won by a split decision with Nevill Hotz and Simon Mokadi scoring it 57-56 in his favour and Thabo Spampool having it at 58-55 for Mokwana.

The co-main event saw Joshua Studdard making a comeback after last fighting in 2017. He beat Saul Hlungwane by a split decision.

Despite the win, Studdard’s performance showed that he had not been in the ring for a long time as he was stretched and at times looked tired during the six round bantamweight contest.

Hlungwane piled on the pressure as a lot of Studdard’s punches did not seem to bother him. He was throwing a lot of punches while Studdard seemed to be fighting in spurts.

Two judges had Studdard winning 58-55 while one had it 57-56 for Hlungwane.

Other results from the tournament are as follows:

  • Lufuno Mutshayi drew with Nosiacwase Dube in a junior featherweight fight.
  • Shone van Schalkwyk beat Sando Jackson by a second round technical knockout in their lightweight bout.
  • Abel Ndaba beat Masanda Mavumengwana by a fourth round technical knockout in their bantamweight fight.
  • Lybon Ntshani drew Kalele Kadumbu in their welterweight fight.

*The fight between Matshidiso Mokebisi and Muleba Raider did not happen as the latter fell ill on Sunday morning.

Must-win for veterans

Raymond Kupula and Gert Strydom.

When a fighter start wondering if they should keep boxing or call it a day then the signs are there that he/she is close to the end of their career.

What happens when two fighters who are to face each other are talking about hanging up the gloves?

This is the situation when veterans Thompson Mokwana and Raymond Kupula square off on March 1 at Turffontein.

Kupula comes into the fight after being away from the ring for two years and he had to think long and hard if he wants to get back to the sport.

“Raymond took a year break from the sport to regroup and to give it some thought what he wants to do in future and he decided to come back,” his trainer Gert Strydom said at a press conference recently.

“Both these boys are at a level where they need wins in the next fight can elevate them to the next level and bigger opportunities will come from this.”

Mokwana is coming off a three fight losing streak where he was stopped by Simpiwe Vetyeka, Michael Mokoena and Ayanda Nkosi.

Mokwana believes fighting at lightweight proved to be costly for him as he struggled with weight when he held the South African title.

“I’ve been struggling with weight for a couple of years but remember when you champion you become arrogant and you don’t want to lose the title even when you are struggling with weight. You just want to fight because of money,” Mokwana told the media.

It is clear that the winner of the fight will probably have a few more bouts left but what happens to the loser?

With both men well into their 30s it is difficult to see how the boxer who doesn’t have his arm raised in this headline fight of the BRD card can continue with his career. This could be a case of win or call it a day.

The card will also see the return Joshua Studdard who last fought in 2017 as he has been nursing an injury. He will take on Saul Bokwane.

“These two years have been a humbling experience,” said Studdard.

He will be looking to getting back to the days when he was one of the most talked about prospects in South Africa.