EFC AFRICA 20 - A night to remember

Words: Scott Niccolls and Jose Jardim ǀ Photos: Scott Niccolls

EFC Africa 20, held at Carnival City on 27 June 2013, started earlier than usual to get through an exciting line up of 13 fights on the night, with 5 fights on the main card and two title fights. Fight 12 would see Danie van Heerden and Gideon Drotschie go head to head in a bid to see who would be the new Interim Light Heavyweight title holder. In fight 13, it was the current Lightweight Champion Costa Ioannou, undefeated with 6 wins, against Don Madge, and this bout promised to be an epic battle between these two giants.

Earlier in the week, there were four athletes who didn't make the required weight at the weigh in. Matthew Buirski was the first to not make the weigh in as he was 1.35 kg over the maximum weight for bantamweight. However, the two camps came to a financial comprise agreement that allowed him not to have to lose any further weight. Two fighters that both came in 600 g short of their target weight were Johan van Staden in the lightweight and Raymond Ahana in middleweight. Then came the weigh in with Tumelo Maphutha, who was fighting against Gareth McLellan. McLellan made his weight, but Tumelo didn't and weighed in 1.2 kg heavier than the maximum limit. Tumelo then managed to drop 600 g in the first hour and refused to drop anymore weight, causing McLellan to get upset.


Come fight night, the action went down as follows.


Fight 1: BANTAMWEIGHT - Matthew Buirski vs. Marino Cutendana

A superman punch by Buirski kicked off the fight. However, a kick to the groin by Cutendana put a stop to the fight in the third round, and Buirski took the win on a split decision by the judges after three rounds.


Fight 2: FEATHERWEIGHT - Kanyeba Anicet vs. Barend Nienaber

This fight went to ground very early, but it was all too much for Anciet who took some serious grounding and pounding by Nienaber, who was declared the winner by submission.


Fight 3: LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT - Chris du Pont vs. Charl Hurter

This bout was almost over before it started. Charl, whose instinct was to go down because of his wrestling background, was no match for du Pont's relentless grounding and pounding, which resulted in the fight ending in the first round. Du Pont took the win by TKO on the ground.


Fight 4: BANTAMWEIGHT - Charlie Weyer vs. Craig Ninow

Although this was a fairly even fight, a hard punch by Weyer forced Ninow to the ground early, and he stayed there for much of rounds 2 and 3. Weyer was declared the winner on split decision by the judges after three rounds.


Fight 5: LIGHTWEIGHT - Alex Cheboub vs. Sibusiso Mdoku

It was all out war between the two fighters, making for a very rough and tough fight. Cheboub consistently threw punches even when he looked too tired to continue, and Mdoku did a great job on working the legs. The action picked up dramatically in the third round when Mdoku delivered a sharp knock down to Cheboub, who later retaliated with a no-nonsense uppercut to Mdoku's jaw and elbow attacks in the last 10 seconds of the third round. In the end, the win went to Cheboub on split decision by the judges after three rounds.


Fight 6: MIDDLEWEIGHT - Donavin Hawkey vs. Raymond Ahana

Both fighters seemed to prefer a stand-up battle, but it was Hawkey who wasted no time in working on Ahana's legs, because its Ahana's strong point. Hawkey followed this up by throwing numerous and unforgiving uppercuts during their stand-up grapple, but when he connected a hammer fist while grounded for a second, it was lights out for Ahana, literally. Ahana was taken away on a stretcher! Hawkey won on KO.


Fight 7: WELTERWEIGHT - Juan Lubbe vs. Neil Diesel

Short and sweet was the name of this bout. Diesel started off strong and took command of the fight in the early part of round one. However, towards the end of the round, Diesel injured his leg and was unable to continue fighting. Lubbe was declared the winner on a tap out due to verbal submission.


Fight 8: LIGHTWEIGHT - Frederich Naumann vs. Johan van Staden

The massively hyped bout between Frederich Naumann and Johan van Staden did not disappoint. Van Staden was the first to make a move and deliver a sharp and powerful punch in the first round. Round two saw the two fighters mostly grapelling with each other, both equally determined not to give the other fighter any slight advantage. In the end it was Naumann who proved superior to a tiring van Staden, winning on a split decision by the judges after three rounds.


Fight 9: FEATHERWEIGHT - Alain Ilunga vs. Markus Taljaard

Ilunga took charge early on in this bout, delivering hard kicks to Taljaard's face, torso, and ribs, forcing him to grapple and go down. In the second round, it was Taljaard who dominated and landed a massive punch that rocked Ilunga. Overall, it was a close and tough fight, but it was Ilunga who was declared the winner on submission.


Fight 10: HEAVYWEIGHT - Ruan Potts vs. Ricky Misholas

This fight was cancelled due to an injury to Ricky's right hand.


Fight 11: MIDDLEWEIGHT - Garreth McLellan vs. Tumelo Maphutha

Garreth went into this fight with big hopes of a win, which he needed if he wants to regain the Middleweight title. Having been with EFC since the beginning and with only two losses to his record, Garreth says he is in the best shape he's ever been with all the hard training in the last 6 months.


There was action from the start of the first round, with McLellan trying for the choke hold on the ground. However, Tumelo would have none of it and kept rocking McLellan with thumping punches. By the second round, Tumelo had McLellan on the defensive and this attack continued into the third round, where McLellan tried the submission at the end of the round, but failed. When the final bell went, it was McLellan who had won by split decision.


Fight 12: INTERM LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP - Danie van Heerden vs. Gideon Drotschie

Danie is technically gifted and has boxing blood running in his family and through his veins. His brother is the IBO Boxing Champion of the World, so Danie was hoping to add his own belt to the family cabinet. Gideon on the other hand is a dynamic all-round striker and an MMA prodigy, and he's also been taken under the wing of legendary boxer Rico Hattingh.


For the first two rounds, Drotschie showed great technique when he was on the floor, crawling closer to kick his opponent, van Heerden. With good ground and pound throwing hammer fists and elbows, Drotschie went for the cremora submission. By the start of third round, both fighters were warily weighing each other up, but a big takedown by Drotschie saw him declared the winner by submission, clinching the much-coveted title.


Fight 13: LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP - Costa Ioannou vs. Don Madge

Costa started the night undefeated, with 6 wins to his name. He is also the most dominant champion in the history of EFC Africa, and takes down anyone who challenges him. While Don is a Muay Thai super star. He challenged the King and won the of the Lightweight Division World title at the age of 19.


From the start, Costa tried to control the fight on the ground. In round two, both fighters attempted submissions then countering. There was a lot of ground work in this fight, but it was Madge who managed to land more clean shots. Madge's relentless pounding took its toll on Costa in the fourth round and slowed him down. But it was not all Madge's way as Costa gave as good as he got, forcing Madge to block and counter to stay out of trouble. As the bell went, it was a jubilant Madge who was declared the winner on submission, to take the championship title.


Overall, it was a great night of fighting, and if you are keen to go along to the next EFC Africa event, it will be taking place on Thursday, 25 July 2013, at Carnival City. For more information on EFC Africa, visit http://www.efcafrica.com/