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Sunday World - - World Of Sport - BON­GANI MAGASELA

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.”

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