Van Staden had just returned from the USA, where he tried out for The Ultimate Fighter 13, two days before the fight and was perhaps not in the best condition he could have been. However, true to form, he went out and didn’t give up, narrowly outscoring Smith on the judges’ scorecards.
Other highlights included Amanzimtoti’s Craig Ninow, who defied the odds to wrest the amateur bantamweight title away from Ntuzuma’s Scelo Mavundla. Mavundla showed great sportsmanship and huge respect for Ninow by hoisting Ninow into the air as soon as he was declared the winner.
Springs’ Boyd Allen took his amateur record to 8 wins, 0 losses by defeating Durban’s Zama Hadebe in one of the most exciting bouts of the night. Allen was dropped with a huge right hand and only just saved by the bell in round one. However, his tactical counter punching and slick grappling saw Hadebe tap out with just seconds left in round three.
As usual, the extreme striking sensation Sydney ‘Machine Gun’ Mokgolo made short work of his opponent. This time it was Khule Hlongwa that found himself disoriented and despondent after the Machine Gun fired a salvo of knockout knees early in round one.
Leon ‘Iron Lion’ Mynhardt pulled off the seemingly impossible by surviving a full round of Johan van Staden on his back trying his best to choke him into oblivion. Mynhardt somehow survived the onslaught and that was all he had to do, as van Staden had nothing left in the tank for round two and was forced to give up.
The final fight of the night, the SA lightweight title fight between Wesley ‘The Young Assassin’ Hawkey and Ryan ‘The Lion’ van Niekerk turned out to be one of the most blistering clashes of the year, and rightly so with van Niekerk’s title on the line. Despite a few controversial knees, van Niekerk’s experience saw him through Hawkey’s aggressive assault. In the second round van Niekerk was hoisted and slammed to the canvas but took the opportunity to seize Hawkey’s neck in an brutally asphyxiating guillotine choke that saw the challenger’s shot at glory fade along with his air supply.
The event also saw the presentation of the Fight Force 2010 awards. The winners were:
*Fighter of the year - Donavin Hawkey
*Sponsor of the year - Bad Boy
*Most improved fighter of the year - Leon 'Iron Lion' Mynhardt
*Trainer of the year - Kevin Thomas
*Prospect of 2011 – Martin van Staden
For more information and full results visit www.fightforce.co.za