Blasts from the past: Rivera bloodied on Dingaan’s day
Today in SA sports history: September 14
1991 — Dingaan Thobela defends his WBO lightweight title for the second time, outpointing Antonio Rivera of Puerto Rico at the Standard Bank Arena in Johannesburg. That was the first world title bout staged in SA in five years, the last occasion having been when Brian Mitchell won his world title in 1986. Thobela vacated that belt and went on to win two more world titles, but he never successfully defended a world title again.
1992 — Thulani “Sugarboy” Malinga goes into the defence of his SA light-heavyweight crown against Jim Murray concealing a broken right hand. During the pre-fight medical examination he had to keep a poker face as the doctor squeezed both hands during the check-up. Malinga, who had broken his hand in his previous outing against Englishman Nigel Benn some months earlier, said he didn’t dare flinch. He fought mostly one-handed in the fight, but that was enough to win by majority decision. “Sometimes when I was fighting, I didn’t feel the pain,” said Malinga, who still defended the title successfully a second time before having surgery to correct the problem.
1996 — Undefeated Jan Bergman engages in the biggest fight of his career, taking on Australia-based Russian Kostya Tszyu, the IBF junior-welterweight champion. But unbeaten Bergman, although giving a decent account of himself in the early rounds, couldn’t hold off the rampaging Tszyu and was stopped in the sixth round of their bout in Newcastle, Australia.
2002 — Mzukisi Sikali upsets the odds as he beats Hawk Makepula on points to take the IBO flyweight title at Carnival City. Nearly two months before the bout Sikali was knocked out in a mugging during which he was cracked on the side of his head with a monkey wrench, leaving the top section of his right ear hanging by a thread. He lost much blood, which impacted on his training. Even so, he possessed sufficient gas to handle Makepula over the distance. That win made Sikali the third South African boxer to win world titles at three different weights, adding to the WBU junior-flyweight and junior-bantamweight titles he had held previously. Cassius Baloyi was the first and Lehlohonolo Ledwaba the second.
2007 — The Springboks smash England 36-0 at Stade de France in their second match of the World Cup. Right wing JP Pietersen scored two tries and flanker Juan Smith one while fullback Percy Montgomery converted all three and added four penalties. Centre Frans Steyn kicked a fifth penalty.
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