Johannesburg - Mzonke “The Rose of Khayelitsha” Fana was the country’s oldest active boxer before finally deciding to quit the ring and become a trainer at 43.
Lately, things had not been so rosy for the former South African lightweight and two-time International Boxing Federation junior lightweight champion.
He lost four successive fights by unanimous points decisions, the last being against Thompson Mokwana – who relieved him of his national crown at Turffontein Race Course in Johannesburg in June.
Before that loss, Fana had been embarrassed by British boxer Terry Flanagan in a fight for the World Boxing Organisation crown at Ice Arena Wales in Cardiff in July last year.
He later lost to Ghanaian Emmanuel Tagoe when fighting for the vacant International Boxing Organisation lightweight diadem at Bukom Boxing Arena in Accra. Fana collapsed just after the final bell and doctors at ringside managed to revive him before he was rushed to hospital.
Another notable defeat for Fana was that suffered at the hands of Xolisani “Nomeva” Ndongeni for the World Boxing Association Pan-African title in 2015.
However, Fana still refused to bow out of the ring despite being advised to do so for his own safety.
“After a thorough soul-searching, I have decided to retire from boxing and nurture talent at our boxing club called Blood, Sweat & Tears in Sea Point, Cape Town,” said Fana this week.
“There are many good youngsters at the stable. As someone who was trained there myself, I felt it wise to help develop young talent.”
Fana said he was proud of being Mzansi’s oldest active pugilist. The veteran has been boxing since 1994, and boasts a professional record of 51 fights with 38 wins and 13 defeats.
“I have made a mark as a fighter and feel it is time to plough back to boxing by producing champs in the near future,” he said.
Fana is widely admired for his effective jabs that he was capable of throwing with both hands.
“I’ve won so many fights using my jabs mainly. I’d like to produce many champions in future who will adopt this style of fighting,” he said.