comeback trail

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Critics who wrote Mzonke Fana off after his failure to defend the International Boxing Federation junior lightweight belt against Cassius Baloyi in April will eat humble pie because "The Rose of Khayelitsha" will still bloom.

Fana was dethroned in the second defence of the belt he had previously retained in a ninth-round stoppage last August over Javier Osvaldo Alvarez.

But Fana was in April a shadow of the buzzing artist whose all-star performance against Alvarez convinced the panel of judges in the yearly awards to vote him as Boxing SA's Boxer of 2007.

He started fighting seriously against Baloyi from round five. Chances of a knockout were there, especially in the later rounds when Baloyi seemed to be tiring, but Fana was out of his usual depth.

Fana has, however, promised to bounce back and reclaim the IBF belt.

He will dust off his cobwebs against an unknown Ruben Estanislao over 10 rounds at the Carousel Casino, North West, on August 29.

The beauty with Fana, 34, is that he never absorbed any serious punishment throughout the 15 years of his illustrious career.

"A lot is still to come from me. In fact, I want my title back. I am currently rated number five but I expect that to change after I have dealt with Ruben," he said adding that he hoped for another two quick fights after Ruben in order to get the top three spot in the IBF junior lightweight rankings.

"I have bigger things for all the sport lovers, come 2009".

His comeback fight will be one of the undercards to the IBF super bantamweight title eliminator between Jeffrey Mathebula and Julio Zarate.

Malcolm Klassen, who surrendered the IBF junior lightweight belt to Fana in April last year, will fight Manuel Medina in the IBF junior lightweight title eliminator. The winner will challenge Baloyi early next year.

The tournament will be presented by promoter Branco Milenkovic under the banner of Branco Sports Productions.