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Boxers go down fighting

South Africa’s four boxers at the 2009 World Amateur Championships in Milan, Italy, are all coming home early, but richer for the experience in competing at the highest level of the sport. Two of the four, Lebogang Pilane and Papish Baloyi, even won their opening bouts.

Lebogang Pilane, the 22-year-old competing in the 48kg category, was a comfortable winner on points (13-4) in his first round showdown with Lui Magaiva and was never in any trouble from the opening bell. He jumped into a 4-1 lead and kept stretching it, allowing himself the luxury of coasting through the final stanza. 

That win earned him a place in the last eight against Hovhannes Danielyan. Pilane was brave but took too many punches and succumbed to a 12-3 points defeat. 

In his opening bout, Baloyi was pure class. He completely dominated Mohammed Shahmeem from the first bell, and won the first stanza 11-1. The 18-year-old South African then maintained the tempo and nearly stopped his man in the third round, before finally settling for an emphatic 23-1 victory on points. That success set him up for a showdown with the tough Shafick Chitou. Baloyi stood his ground well and scrapped hard in the first round (losing it 2-1), before he began to tire and his opponent ran out a points winner (13-3).

Elsewhere, in a battle among the big men in the 82-91kg division, Mangane Massane was disqualified in the third round of his contest against Elchin Alizada. However. Massane was already trailing quite badly at the time of the referee’s intervention, after losing the first two stanzas 5-0 and 10-0, respectively.

The fourth and final entrant, Siphawk Lusizi, was beaten on points (17-9) in the 65-69kg division by Botirjon Mahmudov.