Micheal Mokoena (white and gold trunks) and Jabulani Makhense during the WBA Pan African welterweight title fight at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg, June 8 2019. Picture: LEFTY SHIVAMBU/GALLO IMAGES
Micheal Mokoena (white and gold trunks) and Jabulani Makhense during the WBA Pan African welterweight title fight at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg, June 8 2019. Picture: LEFTY SHIVAMBU/GALLO IMAGES

Boxer Jabulani Makhense appears to have the Limpopo boxing baton firmly in his grasp after retaining his WBA Pan African title with a lopsided points win over Michael Mokoena at Emperors Palace on Saturday night.

The boxer admires Cassius Baloyi‚ Phillip Ndou‚ Isaac Hlatshwayo and Jeffrey Mathebula and said he is happy to continue where these former world champions from the Limpopo province left off.

“I look up to Phillip‚ Cassius and the other guys from my province who were world champion‚” said 26-year-old Makhense.

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The boxer has set his sights on bigger goals and believes the support he gets from his family will help achieve his dreams.

“My mother always goes down on her knees to pray when I fight‚” he said. “She prays for me and my opponent to leave the ring safe because she says some other boxers left the ring on stretchers and never recovered. I believe in the power of prayer‚ that is how I was raised.”

Makhense’s trainer Sebastiaan Rothmann‚ a former multiple world boxing cruiserweight champion‚ said prayer plays an important role in the camp.

“We pray in our dressingroom in different languages‚” said the former SA‚ WBU and IBO cruiserweight champion who is moulding Makhense into a force to be reckoned with.

Makhense said his 12-rounder against Mokoena was tough but “good”. The boxer displayed superior skills while boxing brilliantly on the back foot.

Rothmann continued: “One thing I am excited about is that the judges saw boxing for once because if you had judges who do not understand boxing‚ they could have scored it in favour of Mokoena simply because of his aggression. His aggression was not effective and not all his punches landed while Jabulani’s few but clean blows all hit the target.”

Judge Neville Hotz scored it 116-112‚ Jaap van Niewenhuizen 117-111 and Sazi Xamlashe 119-109. Their scores meant the boxer‚ who also holds the Gauteng title‚ remains unbeaten after eight bouts.

The 12-rounder was on the bill as the IBO cruiserweight fight between  reigning champion Kevin “Two Guns” Lerena and Vasil Ducar of Czech Republic. Lerena won the fight with scores of 117-111‚ 120-108 and 119-109.