Fana now fights from outside the boxing ring

Boxing gloves
Boxing gloves

Former world boxing champion Mzonke "The Rose of Khayelitsha" Fana has finally brought his illustrious career to an end.

The 44-year-old former two- times IBF junior lightweight title holder is now honing the fighting skills of his former trainer, who has already won two of his three professional boxing matches.

Fana, who was virtually unknown in the boxing world until he challenged and successfully dethroned Malcolm "The Stone" Klassen as the IBF world champion in 2007, said: "You are now getting it from the horse's mouth.

"I retired after I lost the SA lightweight title to Thompson Mokwana in June last year."

Fana's boxer is Zimbabwean Felix Venganayi, who is based in Western Cape.

Venganayi, who was Fana's trainer in the last years of his career which spans 23 years, had last boxed professionally in 2013 when he lost to Themba Tshicila for the vacant WBA Pan African junior lightweight title in Cape Town.

"We already had three fights - in Zimbabwe, Cape Town and England. We are writing our own history where a trainer becomes a boxer and a boxer trains his former trainer."

Venganayi, 34, stopped George Owano in the second round of their six-rounder in Harare in August before halting Luvuyo Mzamo in the same round in Cape Town in September.

Venganayi was in turn stopped in the eighth round by Joey Murray in Manchester in November.

Fana, who boasts a win against retired former six-times world champion Cassius Baloyi, said the transition from being a boxer to a trainer is not easy. "I still think like a boxer," he said, laughing.

"I remember when we were in England, you would swear that I was the one going to fight because I was soaking wet from sweating. I was so tense. Even during the fight I kept saying, 'God, I wish it was me against Murray'.

"But I believe with time I will get used to being the one shouting instructions."

Fana's stable also has two other Zimbabweans - Tapiwa Tembo and Alex Gambinda.

Fana's loss to Mokwana was his fifth against a South African, his 13th in total. Fana had been a successful boxer since 1994 and had risen to stardom through promoter Branco Milenkovic.

Prior to winning the IBF world title from Klassen, Fana had lost to legendary Mexican Marco Antonio Barrera for the WBC junior lightweight title in Mexico in 2005.