SAKARIA Lukas retained his WBO Africa featherweight title with a unanimous points decision against Tello Dithebe of South Africa on Saturday night.
Lukas dominated throughout and was a comfortable winner as the three judges scored the fight 119-108, 119-109, 119-108 in his favour.
It was however not a very attractive fight, with a lot of clinches and hanging on by Dithebe slowing the fight down, while Lukas seldom managed to land big shots against the wily and experienced South African.
With little action in the opening rounds, Lukas picked up the pace in the fifth round and landed a big right hook that shook Dithebe, but the South African immediately closed Lukas down.
By the seventh round, Lukas drew cheers with some sharp combinations, but Dithebe landed some sharp jabs of his own and by the ninth the two boxers traded punches in the centre of the ring.
Lukas showed some impressive hand speed in the tenth, and landed a big left hook in the 11th, but Dithebe back-pedalled and stayed out of range till the end.
Although it was not a very entertaining fight, it was an impressive points victory for Lukas who is now unbeaten after 21 professional fights, while Dithebe has a record of 20 wins and eight defeats.
After the fight Lukas said he took his time to break his opponent down.
“It was a very good fight and he was a very good competitor, but I had to do what I had to do to be victorious. He wasn’t very tough but I just kept on boxing him until I broke him down.
“My target was to box him, not to knock him out, because sometimes you have to go the distance. Also the fans came in huge numbers and they want to see entertainment, not just a quick show, they want to get value for their money. I really appreciate them coming in numbers and for supporting boxing,” he added.
Lukas, who was ranked third in the world by the WBO before the fight, now stands a good chance of reaching number one according to his promoter Nestor Tobias.
“We reached our purpose tonight – we got a win against a very tough and experienced opponent, who was also a champion, so it was two champions fighting each other and that is good for Sakaria Lukas’ record,” he said.
“Now we will be in a stronger position to make the number one spot. I doubt that the world champion will pick an African boxer as an opponent, but when Lukas becomes the mandatory opponent he will have nowhere to run to,” he added.
In the main supporting bout Jeremiah Nakathila retained his WBO Africa junior lightweight title in impressive style after knocking out Sibusiso Zingange of South Africa in the sixth round.
Nakathila, who recently changed his nickname from ‘No Respect’ to ‘Low Key’ was anything but low key, as he gradually wore Zingange down with his powerful punches.
He knocked Zingange down the first time in the fifth round, and although he managed to survive that round, the end came early in the sixth when Nakathila knocked him down with a powerful right hook for the count of ten.
After the fight a confident Nakathila issued a warning to the other top boxers in the junior lightweight division.
“I’m ready for all the guys in my weight division,” he said, while Tobias said he had a great future.
“Nakathila is a warrior and he is becoming a smart boxer. He was a bit wild in the first round, but from then on he improved with each round, so he’s a big prospect and I’m expecting big things from him,” he said.
Harry Simon Junior lived up to his pre-fight prediction of an early finish when he beat Johannes Kutumbu on a second round technical knockout.
Simon was too fast and powerful for Kutumbu and when he trapped him on the ropes and unleashed a barrage of punches in the second round, Kutumbu went down. He managed to get up again but the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
The results of other fights were as follows:
Timoteus Shuulula beat Niikoti Johannes on a unanimous points decision (59-57, 59-55, 58-56) in a featherweight fight.
Max Ipinge beat Hedison Nghipondokwa on a unanimous points decision (40-36, 40-36, 39-37) in a junior middleweight fight.
Charles Shinima beat Jason Mashala on a unanimous points decision (40-36, 40-36, 40-36) in a welterweight fight.
Jacob Jacob and Ruben Kandimba drew their flyweight fight, with the judges scoring it 38-39, 38-38, 39-37.
Andreas Amupolo beat Frans Nanda on a majority decision in a bantamweight fight (39-37, 38-38, 39-38); Nghitumbwa Filipus beat Josef Mateus on a second round technical knockout on a catchweight fight; and Jamba Gabriel beat Andreas Mwenyo on a majority points decision (38-38, 38-37, 39-37) in a bantamweight fight.