After suffering two defeats to Steve Molitor in IBF title fights over the last four years, Takalani Ndlovu gained revenge last night at Nasrec Indoor Arena in Johannesburg, capturing Molitor's IBF crown.
From the start, Ndlovu seemed to be a man on a mission, pushing the southpaw champion from Canada back with extra zeal and grit in front of a partisan hometown audience that packed the venue.
A notorious slow starter, Molitor usually builds up in intensity as the rounds go on but Ndlovu thwarted the pattern with a spearing body attack in the second that had the visitor hanging on until the end of the frame.
Ndlovu continued to pressure Molitor unceasingly, driving the North American onto the back foot behind a stiff jab that also kept Molitor from his usual tactic of effective counterpunching.
By the sixth Molitor was clearly behind on the cards and that got worse when he was hurt again by the challenger, but Ndlovu could not improve upon his work.
The rest of the bout followed the form of the early rounds with Ndlovu controlling the pace and never allowing Molitor to get on track, winning a unanimous decision by scores of 118-110, 118-110 and 116-112.
Takalani Ndlovu, 32-6 (18), finally has the IBF belt around his waist while Steve Molitor, 33-2 (12), loses for just the second time in his career, both IBF title bouts.
The undercard featured a pitched battle for the IBF flyweight crown between reigning champ Moruti Mthalane, 27-2 (18), and challenger Johnriel Casimero, 14-2 (8), that lasted until Casimero was suddenly downed in the fifth frame.