Fana regains IBF junior lightweight title
Mzonke Fana won the vacant IBF junior lightweight title with a
unanimous decision over fellow South African Cassius ‘Hitman’
Baloyi at the Carnival City casino in Brakpan, near Johannesburg,
Fana, 36, regained the title he lost to Baloyi on points in
April 2008 with a dominant display over 12 rounds at the Big Top
The junior lightweight belt had been vacated by Mexico’s Robert
Guerrero when he couldn’t defend his title against Fana in
On Wednesday, Fana overpowered an off-form Baloyi over the
distance and was the clear winner. The judges scored the fight
119-109, 118-110 and 119-110 in favor of the Cape Town-based Fana,
known as ‘The Rose of Khayelitsha’.
He improved his record to 34 fights, 30 wins and four losses,
with 12 knockouts.
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 up in the second
Baloyi did land two strong punches in the fourth, a left jab and
a straight right, but he couldn’t stop the onslaught from the
tireless Fana, who worked Baloyi’s head and body from close
Three uppercuts in quick succession shook Baloyi in the seventh.
Baloyi, who appeared the much older boxer, was clinging on by the
And by the 11th Baloyi, the only South African fighter to win
six world titles, was a shadow of his former self as Fana continued
to launch punishing attacks. The sluggish Baloyi offered only
occasional left jabs in reply.
He had no answer to the relentless pace and aggression of Fana –
ranked the number one junior lightweight by the IBF. Baloyi was
ranked number two ahead of the fight.
The loss may send Baloyi, one of South Africa’s most successful
boxers, into retirement, as he slips to 37 wins, five losses and
He won his first world title back in 1995 and has now fought in
23 world title bouts – more than any other South African
It may have been one title fight too many.
”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.
”I will have to go home and take it from there.”
Also at Carnival City, Moruti ‘Baby Face’ Mthalane retained his
IBF flyweight title with a fifth round TKO of challenger Zolani
‘Last Born’ Tete in another all-South African bout on the ‘African
After a cagey start, Mthalane sent Tete stumbling into the ropes
with a big right hand in the second round.
The champion then 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 swinging left and right hooks that sent the
inexperienced challenger slumping to his knees.
Tete rose again, but the referee finally stepped in to stop the
fight as Tete struggled to defend himself from a hail of punches in
the corner from the champion.