By Lwazi Ndzobongo at ringside: Chris van Heerden retained his IBO welterweight title via 12 round unanimous points decision over Matthew Hatton. The judges scored the fight 118-110, 117-112 and 116-112, here on Saturday night at the Sandton Convention Centre in the north of Johannesburg.
The heat as Van Heerden is popularly known out worked Hatton over 12 sometimes wrestling inspired rounds. The 1st round started slowly with Hatton getting the better of a seemingly unsettled van Heerden. In the 2nd round both fighters sustained cuts above the eyes from an accidental head butt as the both boxers increased the tempo. There was still a lot of holding as the shorter Hatton tried to get on the inside.
Rounds 3 to 6 took as similar flow, with van Heerden taking the action to Hatton and finding success with his punches and looking the stronger of the two. The cut on van Heerden’s right eye opened up badly from a Hatton punch and blood was flowing down, even obstructing his vision.
Rounds 7 to 9 involved a lot of holding from both men, with the referee having to warn them numerous times. Van Heerden was backing up Hatton and was hurting Hatton with his right uppercut. Hatton had his moments but they were few and far between, he was being out worked and couldn’t figure out van Heerden’s style. The corner had done well to stop the bleeding on van Heerden’s eye.
Rounds 10 & 12, the championship rounds, followed a similar trend, even though it was obvious Hatton was behind on the scorecards, the Manchurian never upped his ante and succumbed to his third defeat in a world title challenge. Van Heerden finished off the 12th by landing at combination to the face of Hatton.
When all was said and done, the unanimous points decision was a fair outcome to a fight that didn’t quite reach the heights it was expected to. Van Heerden will be happy with this win and will hopefully march on to bigger and better fights in the future.
This was probably Hatton’s last chance saloon and its difficult to see where he goes from here in his boxing escapades.
Van Heerden improved to 18-1-1 and Hatton dropped to 43-6-2.
Matty Clarkson inflicted a 6th loss on the ledger of the South African Light Heavyweight champion Tshepang Mohale via 7th round TKO. Mohale was down from a straight right in the 1st round but recovered well. Clarkson was backing up Mohale and succeeding with the overhead right, countering Mohale’s jab. There wasn’t much of body punches throughout with both men attacking the head at every occasion.
The ending came via a flurry of unanswered right hands, a tiring Mohale was caught clean with a right hand and had no answer to the punches that followed before the referee stopped the fight at 2 minutes an 51 seconds of the 7th round.