‘Confidence’ to win fight

2011-02-12 19:07

Unlike his compatriot Cassius Baloyi, Mzonke Fana has pledged to hold on to his confidence throughout the fight when he faces the sleek Argenis Mendez.

The duo are to meet for Fana’s International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior lightweight crown at a venue and on a date still to be decided.

Mendez, an exciting youngster from the Dominican Republic, earned the right to meet Fana when he beat Baloyi on a lopsided points decision in an eliminator 15 days ago.

The fighter came out of his corner roaring like an express train in almost every round, registering an incredible one-sided 117-110, 117-110, 117-111 unanimous victory.

The IBF rules state that Fana should give Mendez a crack in 90 days.

Fana’s promoter, Branco “Baby” Milenkovic, said the fight was likely to take place some time in April and hopefully in the defending champion’s backyard.

Baloyi was felled by Mendez in the first round, and Fana believes that the six-times world champion lost the fight after suffering the knockdown.

Said Fana: “After going down in the first round, Baloyi lost his confidence and lost the fight.

“You could see that he was now on guard against being floored again and this adversely affected his performance.”

Fana said that to face Mendez he had to be super-fit, so that should anything like a knockdown occur he would be able to get up again and fight like a wounded tiger.

A number of top fighters in years gone by were thrown out of kilter in earlier rounds but held on courageously until the last bell.

Perhaps the most outstanding act of courage under insurmountable odds was displayed by Muhammad Ali, a man who immortalised the gem: “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”.

Ali’s jaw was dislocated in the first round by Ken Norton in a world heavyweight clash, but he went on to fight for 15 rounds, gallantly losing on points.

Fana emphasised that Mendez was a good fighter with sharp reflexes, hand speed and punching power.

He said: “The foreigner will not be as effective as he was against Baloyi, as I am a completely different fighter.

“I am already gearing myself for the fight and I will intensify hard training towards the end of February, coming out razor-sharp on the day of the fight.”

Fana initially won the crown from compatriot Malcolm Klassen, defended it in a ninth-round knockout against Javier Alvarez and subsequently lost it against the same Baloyi.

In a grudge fight, a seemingly reincarnated Fana fought like a man possessed, producing one of the most potent performances, taking Baloyi’s breath away to regain the title.

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