TAKALANI Ndlovu might have lost his International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior featherweight crown to Jeffrey Mathebula on Saturday night, but he is not done with the sport of boxing.
"I know that people will always talk and say that I'm done, but I'm still young, I'm still going up and I'll bounce back again," he said.
In his second defence of the crown he secured with a unanimous points win over Canada's Steve Molitor a year ago, Ndlovu found himself on the wrong end of a split decision at Carnival City, with only one judge scoring the fight 115-113 in his favour. The challenger, Mathebula, shaded the remaining scorecards 117-111 and 116-112.
Both fighters showed signs of damage at the press conference in the aftermath of the war.
"The other day it was not announced properly that our last fight was a controversial points decision," Ndlovu said in reference to the duo's elimination battle for a shot at the crown in 2010. "This time he worked hard for the title. I'm very proud of what I've done in boxing through all the years."
Promoter Branco Milenkovic, who staged the fight as part of the African Glory 2 bill, pledged his support for Ndlovu.
"At this level, whatever Takalani decides we will support him. It's a great pleasure to work with him," said Milenkovic.
"Maybe one of the possibilities is for him to move to featherweight, but we've got to see the calculated risk because we need to keep his rating in the IBF high," the promoter said.
"We're going to sit and take a decision that is the best for Takalani."
On the undercard, Thompson Mokwana kept his South African lightweight title with a split-decision win over Patrick Malinga, while Illunga Makabu forced a fifth-round stoppage against Ghana's Michael Gbenga in a cruiserweight contest.
Jackson Chauke stopped Nyelisani Thagambega two minutes and 47 seconds into the second round of their flyweight bout. In the women's junior featherweight fight, Unathi Myekeni and Nigeria's Helen Joseph fought to a draw
n In New York, Zab Judah stopped Vernon Paris two minutes and 27 seconds into the ninth round in an IBF junior welterweight elimination fight at the weekend. Judah dominated the fight with a methodical punching style. He finally finished off Paris (26-1) by getting him into a corner and unleashing about 15 unanswered punches.
"My team put in a great game plan for me," Judah said. "I just executed." When the fight was stopped, Judah was winning on the judges' scorecards by scores of 80-72 and 79-73.
After finishing Paris off, Judah ran to each corner and climbed the ropes in triumph to face his adoring Brooklyn fans. Fighting in his native Brooklyn for the first time as a professional, Judah improved to 42-7 and recorded his 29th career knockout. Among those defeats is last July's disappointing fifth-round knockout against Amir Khan, against whom he is likely to get a rematch.
Khan will fight Lamont Peterson on May 19 and the winner of that light welterweight championship fight would likely battle Judah, who is a former five-time champion.