Ivan Strydom fails to go the distance

PORT Elizabeth boxing fans will remember Saturday as the day when Nangoza Jebe Hall in New Brighton was stunned into silence as hometown favourite and defending champion Ivan Strydom lost his Eastern Cape heavyweight title to Unathi Jacobs of Uitenhage.

Bay boxing fans packed the venue to capacity.

It was a fight that many boxing supporters had been looking forward to, as Strydom was defending the title he took from Uitenhage's Sithembele August last year.

Strydom, who entered the ring to loud applause, was no match for a fired-up Jacobs who knocked out the defending champion in 2 minutes, 47 seconds.

From the opening bell Jacobs threw strong punches and probing jabs which knocked Strydom down twice in the first round.

Strydom started the fight looking strong but seemed to run out of steam and gave away the fight early.

Jacobs now stands a chance to compete for the South African title next year.

Promoter Gladys "Noforty" Tsenene said the tournament was a success.

It was always her dream to revive boxing in Port Elizabeth.

"I'm happy the main fight went well even though I was expecting the fighters to fight all 10 rounds.

"The fighters showed courage and determination and both were ready and fit for it, but there could only be one winner," she said.

Tsenene said she intended to organise an SA title fight for Jacobs next year.

Ring announcer and veteran boxing scribe Nceba Dladla said they were not expecting the fight to end in a knockout in the first round because both fighters were strong.

"They didn't give each other a chance from the opening seconds of the fight and Jacobs knew the weakness of Strydom," Dladla said.

"Strydom was taller and stronger but he failed to produce what was expected of him and Jacobs was the clear winner at the end of the fight," he said.