International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior lightweight champion Mzonke Fana has a suicidal tendency, according to fight experts.
Fana is like a sheep without a shepherd, training himself for his title defence against Dominican Republic’s Argenis Mendez.
The fight, Fana’s first defence since dethroning Cassius “Hitman” Baloyi, takes place at Carnival City on June 11.
Fana pointed out nonchalantly that he was without a trainer on the eve of the crucial fight but argued that it was no big deal.
World champion maker Norman Hlabane and three-time world kingpin and now fight mentor Lehlohonolo “Hands of Stone” Ledwaba were shocked.
“Fana is taking the biggest risk of his life and will regret his blunder, which will cost him a world title and a potential fortune,” said Hlabane.
“What puzzles me is that he is aware that Mendez is a top fighter as he was at ringside when the foreigner deposed Baloyi.”
Ledwaba echoed Hlabane’s sentiments, stressing that it had never happened that a boxer approached a world title fight without a trainer.
“I can assure you that if there are fighters who tried preparing themselves for such important fights without trainers, they failed dismally,” said Ledwaba.
“You need someone to push you when in training, particularly when you are running, encouraging you to go on when feeling fatigued.”
Ledwaba and Hlabane said for Fana to train himself was as foolish as a patient being his own doctor.
Ledwaba should know because when his trainer, David Kgotsane, passed away more than 10 years ago, he temporarily roped in Mzi Mnguni and, ultimately, Hlabane.
Fana was initially trained by Zola Koti but they parted due to “personal reasons”.
He was subsequently temporarily handled by Vuyani “The Beast” Bungu.
Fana said his problem was geographical as he lives in the Western Cape and Bungu lives in the Eastern Cape.
“I am still pondering on who to recruit as a trainer but I can assure you that I am doing a good job training myself,” he said.
No ways, says Hlabane.
“You need a trainer to condition you physically and psychologically before a world title fight so that you will be at your best when the bell rings,” he said.
Mendez earned the right to challenge Fana when he handed Baloyi a clinical hammering more than three months ago.
Mendez, like an uncut diamond, displayed shining qualities beneath a rough exterior as he spectacularly outboxed and outfought the far more experienced Baloyi.
It astounds connoisseurs that Fana would take such a gamble after witnessing Mendez’s, skill, speed and class.
Strange but true, Fana pledged to avenge the defeat of his compatriot, Baloyi, the man from whom he won the crown, in his best performance to date.?
Fana said even though contrasting styles would determine the battle, he would be “fitter, faster and readier”.
Is that an illusion?
June 11 will answer.