GAME OLIVA LOSES BY SPLIT DECISION TO MTHALANE IN IBO TITLE FIGHT
By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Sun, 16 Mar 2014
A game Jether Oliva has lost in his bid to win the vacant IBO flyweight title with a split decision defeat at the hands of former IBF flyweight champion and probably the best boxer in South Africa, Moruti Mthalane, at the International Convention Center in Durban, South Africa.
Judge Terry O’Connor of Britain scored the fight for Mthalane 116-112 while South Africa’s Alan Matakane had Mthalne winning by a bigger 117-112 margin but Filipino judge Atty. Danrex Tapdasan scored the fight for Oliva 115-113.
Super Sport reported that Mthalane who some years ago gave then world champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” a hard time before Donaire smashed his nose, bloodied his eye and won by a 6th round TKO, fought with a badly swollen left eye for eleven of the twelve rounds and won because of what was described as his “excellent defense which made it hard for the game Oliva to land enough scoring blows to cause an upset.
Super Sport noted that “Manny Pacquiao would have been proud of his countryman’s courage and positive attitude but Floyd Mayweather Jr would have given Mthalane points for his defense and the way he maintained his concentration in a hugely entertaining bout.”
The report from ringside said that Oliva, in contrast to Mthalane who uses a peek-a-boo style with his gloves held up high, held his lands low and showed little head movement, allowing Mthalane to pick up points throughout the highly competitive bout. But the report noted “there were times when Oliva’s hand speed enabled him to land telling blows.”
With the win Mthalane improved to 30-2 with 20 wins by knockout while Oliva dropped to 20-2-2 with 10 knockouts.
Super Sport reported that in the opening round Oliva “threw punches with intent but not much accuracy. At the end of the round Mthalane sported an ugly blob under his left eye. Whether it came from a clash of heads or a blow was not clear but it gave Oliva something to aim at the rest of the fight.”
Although Mthalane stopped Oliva in his tracks with a solid right in round four, the Filipino came straight back at him.
Oliva was the aggressor most of the rounds and because he landed a good many body shots there was always the possibility of an upset decision but Super Sport said “in the end there was no doubt about the result even though one judge (Tapdasan of the Philippines) disagreed.”
Mthalane had been stripped of the IBF title for refusing to defend it in Thailand for what his trainer Nick Durandt referred to as “peanuts.”
The flamboyant Durandt was quoted as saying “Oliva might not be the greatest flyweight in the world but his record of 19 wins, a single defeat and 2 draws makes him a valid contender” although the Filipino plummeted to the 98th ranking by the IBO over the last three months from No. 36 at the start of the year.”
The 31 year old Mthalane was ranked No. 1 by the IBO and returned to the ring for the first time since his successful defense of the IBF title against Ricardo Nunenz in Panama City in September 2012.
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