! " # " # $%
IN 2005 Mzonke Fana looked destined for a short career when he was knocked out in four rounds by legendary Mexican Marco Antonio Barrera for the WBC title in Texas.
Eleven years later, Fana (42) has won four titles in two divisions in six fights over the past year.
Fana suffered a controversial split points decision to Xolisani Ndongeni for the WBA Pan African title before losing in his attempt to win the ABU belt in Belgium.
During that time, the Rose of Khayelitsha fought 69 rounds.
Nothing comes easy in boxing,” says Fana. You may have the best skills but if you lack commitment, hard work and dedication you won t go anywhere with your skills. I work very hard in the gym because most of my opponents are young boys.
You can beat them only if you are dedicated to your craft and work twice as hard. It s not easy but I am pushing. If you could see me in training you d mistake me for 24; I give everything.”
In his last two fights, the former two-time IBF junior lightweight champion was in punishing mood.
First he forced Xolani Mcotheli, who is 14 years his junior, to say No mas in the 10th round after the cocky young gun had promised to send him into retirement.
Last weekend Fana pulverised Vusumzi Bokolo into submission over seven rounds, with the 32-yearold struggling to deal with the old man s ramrod jab.
Fana, who has won 38 of his 47 fights from 398 rounds, details the punishing routine that has kept him ahead of the youngsters: I train twice a day, in the morning and the afternoon. I focus in doing road work [10km], sprinting and floor exercises in the morning. Then I work on the bags, pads and sparring in the afternoon.
I spar three times a week, 12 rounds at the most. I spar almost every week.”
He says his sparring partners give him the all-round package he can expect from opponents.
I use young guys for their speed, big guys who carry a punch, shorter and tall guys so that when I go into a fight I am fully equipped.”
Surprisingly, he says age has not really diminished his speed: At 42 one would expect it to deteriorate, but I ve never regarded myself as someone with speed. Rather, I have quick hands and throw three punches at the most.
I can t throw combinations, just one or two quick blows. I practise what I do and I can t be out of the gym for more than two weeks.
I live on veggies and fruit and I don t take supplements.”
As for plans to retire: Only God knows about my destiny.”