South Africa-based boxer Hannock ‘Hardknocker’ Phiri beat Byson Gwayani through technical knockout (TKO) in the seventh round in a thrilling non-title fight at M1 Centre Point in Lilongwe on Sunday.
Phiri sent Gwayani to the canvas in the sixth round with a right punch followed by left to the temple. He delivered a similar package in the first 15 seconds of the seventh round which felled Gwayani to end the contest.
Medics and Gwayani’s cornermen had to rush to revive the local-based boxer who had briefly lost conscious.
It was the eighth straight TKO by Phiri in as many fights.
For Gwayani, who is considered one of the most promising fighters on the local scene, it was his fourth loss in 20 bouts, having won 16.
Phiri started the fight aggressively, throwing everything at Gwayani from ferocious body punches to powerful jabs as his opponent frequently retreated to the ropes.
He continued his onslaught in the second round, but appeared to lose steam in the third round as Gwayani started gaining momentum.
Phiri lost his mouth guard twice from the pummelling and bled following a cut close to his right eye.
Gwayani’s dominance continued in the fifth round, giving the partisan boxing fans false hopes. But things changed towards the end of the fifth round as Phiri delivered some hard body punches and Gwayani buckled.
Phiri was relentless in the sixth round with a combination of jabs as he punished Gwayani who wobbled and then fell.
In a post-fight interview, Phiri said: “I lived up to my word to win by a TKO which I did. He was no match for me and I will now challenge for the belt he is holding. I thank the promoters for arranging this fight.”
Gwayani admitted that he was up against a good opponent.
“He had great endurance. There was a time I thought I had him, but he recovered. I will just have to work extra hard and plan my game properly next time,” he said.
Promoter of the bout Patrick Ngwenyama said: “We promised the fans a good fight and we delivered on our promise. Boxing is growing and we want to keep it that way.”
Speaking on the outcome of the fight Malawi Professional Boxing Control Board (MPBCB) president Lonzoe Zimba faulted Gwayani for using the wrong strategy.