Grand­dad Fana eyes world ti­tle

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

South Africa’s old­est reign­ing box­ing cham­pion, Mzonke “The Rose of Khayelit­sha” Fana is on a mis­sion to be­come the coun­try’s first grand­fa­ther to hold the World Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WBO) ti­tle.

At the age of 43, Fana is not only South African box­ing’s most se­nior cit­i­zen, but he can take pride in be­ing a grand­dad to five-year-old Ayanda. This ac­com­plish­ment makes Fana the coun­try’s first ac­tive cham­pion to achieve such a feat. He cur­rently has three ti­tles – the SA light­weight, WBO Pan African light­weight and World Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion in­ter­na­tional light­weight crowns.

The Khayelit­sha, Cape Town, veteran will chal­lenge Britain’s Terry Flana­gan for the WBO light­weight ti­tle at the Manch­ester Arena in Lan­cashire on July 7.

Fana hopes to win the cham­pi­onship and in­scribe his name into the his­tory books by be­ing a grand­dad and world champ at the same time.

“I am ex­tremely happy to be the coun­try’s [only] ac­tive boxer who has a grand­child. My goal is to be South Africa’s [only] golden oldie with a world ti­tle. This will be a great gift to my grand­son,” said Fana.

A veteran of 47 pro­fes­sional fights, Fana said he had trained hard for the match-up.

The fight will be pro­moted by Queens­bury Pro­mo­tions.

“Flana­gan is a good cham­pion who comes for­ward all the time. I won’t show him any re­spect, as I’m gun­ning to win,” said Fana.

Flana­gan stopped Amer­i­can Jose Zepeda to be crowned WBO cham­pion at the Velo­drome in Manch­ester last July.

So far un­beaten in 30 starts, Flana­gan has the distinc­tion of be­ing the first English­man to win a world ti­tle as a light­weight.

But Fana hopes his ex­pe­ri­ence will see him take the WBO di­a­dem.

Hav­ing de­fended his South African crown seven times, Fana also held the In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion su­per feath­er­weight crown, which he lost to Cas­sius “Hit­man” Baloyi by ma­jor­ity de­ci­sion at the Carousel in 2008.

This grand­dad still has a thing or two left to prove by win­ning the WBO crown.

PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

IN­SIDE Mzonke Fana in ac­tion against Xolisani Ndon­geni at Em­per­ors Palace in June last year. Fana hopes to be a grand­dad and world champ at the same time

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.