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Ilunga Makabu Grabs Split Decision Win Over Thabiso Mchunu

By: Hans Themistode

Ilunga Makabu was initially taken aback when it was revealed that current super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez would challenge him for his WBC cruiserweight crown.

Although it was unexpected, Makabu welcomed a possible showdown against the pound-for-pound star with opened arms. However, before Makabu could officially entertain their high-stakes bout, Makabu first needed to take care of business against Thabiso Mchunu.

Seven years prior, Makabu emphatically stopped Mchunu in the penultimate round. This time, nonetheless, Makabu found his foe much more durable.

In front of a fairly sparse crowd at the Packard Music Hall in Warren, Ohio, Makabu strutted to the ring confidently. Though the two touched gloves before letting their hands fly, there was absolutely no love lost once the opening bell rang.

In the opening frame, Makabu attempted to take the center of the ring. He swung massive right hands that more times than not, hit nothing but air. Mchunu remained on the back foot and patiently waited for his man to make mistakes. His patience would pay off in the second, as Mchunu landed a stinging right hand in the period that forced Makabu to take a step back.

Despite getting visibly stunned, Makabu gathered himself and began moving forward. He continually attempted to cut off the ring to force Mchunu to exchange heavy leather. Still, regardless of his aggressive game plan, Mchunu refused to engage in a firefight. With his world title opportunity standing directly in front of him, Mchunu began working the body of the champion in an effort to slow him down.

Mchunu’s persistent attack to the midsection began paying off during the midway point of the sixth period. Though Makabu continued to come forward, his movement became visibly labored.

As the action began slowing to a crawl, Mchunu picked up his aggression at the tail of their bout. While he appeared to be the fresher fighter, his bid to become a world champion ended without his hand raised.

Although Nathan Palmer ultimately scored the bout in favor of Mchunu, 115-113, he was overruled by Jamie Garayua who had it 116-112 in favor of Makabu, as well as Steve Weisfeld who scored it 115-113 for Makabu as well.

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