Fana regains IBF junior lightweight title

Mzonke Fana won a vacant junior lightweight title with an easy

unanimous decision over fellow South African Cassius Baloyi on

Wednesday night.

The 36-year-old Fana regained the IBF version of the title he

lost to Baloyi in April 2008 at the Carnival City casino in

Brakpan, near Johannesburg. The belt had been vacated by Robert

Guerrero when he couldn’t defend it against Fana in February.

All three judges scored the fight in lopsided fashion for Fana:

119-109, 119-110 and 118-110. He improved to 30-4, while Baloyi

dropped to 37-5-1.

”I couldn’t see out of my right eye. I was just surviving from

the second round,” Baloyi said. ”I just didn’t have any power

today. I don’t know what happened.”

Fana rendered Baloyi’s height and reach advantage irrelevant as

he constantly backed his 35-year-old opponent onto the ropes,

scoring with sharp hooks and stinging uppercuts. Baloyi’s right eye

was already closing in the second round, three uppercuts shook him

in the seventh and he was clinging on by the time the eighth round

came to an end.

By the 11th round, the only South African fighter to win six

world titles was a shadow of his former self. Fana continued to

launch punishing attacks, and the sluggish Baloyi offered only

occasional left jabs in reply.

Baloyi won his first world title in 1995 and has now fought in

23 world title bouts – more than any other South African fighter –

but acknowledged he may be finished.

”I will have to go home and take it from there,” he said.

On the undercard, Moruti Mthalane retained his IBF flyweight

title with a fifth-round knockout of Zolani Tete in another

all-South African bout on the ”African Glory” card.

Mthalane sent Tete stumbling into the ropes with a big right

hand in the second round, and he took control of the fight when he

knocked his opponent down early in the fifth.

Tete made the count, but Mthalane immediately launched another

attack with left and right hooks that sent the inexperienced

challenger slumping to his knees. Tete rose again, but the referee

finally stopped the fight when he couldn’t defend himself in the

corner.