Nkosinathi Joyi retained his IBF mini-flyweight belt when his bout against Katsunari Takayama ended in a no-contest result at Carnival City in Brakpan on Saturday night.
The Japanese challenger was badly cut in a clash of heads in the third round and referee Deon Dwarte had no option but to stop it there and then, 1 minute 59 seconds into the round.
Because the fight had not gone four rounds, it had to be declared a no-contest.
Joyi, regarded as South Africa’s best boxer, pound for pound, seemed to be on his way to a stoppage win after winning the opening rounds in emphatic fashion.
Takayama, a turbo-charged mover, showed blistering speed around the ring but his 10cm height disadvantage was always going to be a deciding factor.
The southpaw champion buckled Takayama’s knees in the first round when he landed a long-distance left, followed by a two-fisted attack.
Takayama tried in vain to get close to the South African in the second round but showed no sign of the kind of power that could bring him a sucker-punch win.
The clash of heads, ruled an accidental head-butt, denied Joyi a good win and some valuable ring time. His record now stands at 21-0, with 15 knockouts and one no-contest.
Takayama, who now has a record of record of 24-4, with 10 stoppages and one no-contest, did nothing to show that he deserved a re-match.
He was bleeding profusely from a cut just above the hairline when the bout ended, probably saving him for a beating.
Takayama had earned the right to face Joyi when he stopped South African Tshepo Lefele in six rounds at Carnival City last September.
The 27-year-old Joyi showed again that he is possibly the most talented fighter in South Africa. He won the belt in March last year when he outpointed previously unbeaten Mexican Raul Garcia in East London.
BALOYI LOSES ON POINTS
Earlier, Cassius Baloyi was out-boxed by a younger, speedier and hungrier Argenis Mendez from the Dominican Republic.
Baloyi was knocked down in the first round but showed courage and no little class as he tried to find his way back into the IBF junior lightweight title eliminator.
However, Mendez slowed the veteran down with a shower of solid body punches and won 117-110 on two cards and 117-111 on the third.
Mendez, who fights out of Brooklyn in New York, will now meet the champion, Mzonke Fana of South Africa. – supersport zone