Former two-time world champion Mzonke Fana captured the vacant World Boxing Federation (WBF) Intercontinental Super Featherweight title on Sunday, March 22, at the Mdantsane Indoor Centre in East London, South Africa, when he defeated fellow countryman Koos Sibiya.
In a close and competitive fight, Fana used his straight punches to score points, especially his jab, and mostly counter-punched, while Sibiya was the aggressor and tried to overwhelm his veteran opponent by putting him under constant pressure.
After twelve rounds of boxing, in front of an enthusiastic crowd, the closeness of the fight was confirmed with a split decision, when two of the scoring judges had Fana ahead by 116-115 (Siya Vabaza & Siphiwo Mbini), while the third judge (Andile Matika) saw it in favor of Sibya, 115-114. Referee was Eddie Marshall.
Fana (41), also known as The Rose of Khayelitsha, improved his record to 34-7 (14) since turning professional almost twenty-one years ago in March 1994. With the victory, he could be in line to challenge WBF World Super Featherweight champion Harmonito Dela Torre (14-0, 9 KOs) from the Philippines later this year.
Koos Sibiya, the reigning Gauteng provincial champion and undefeated in his previous eight bouts, drops to 16-9-4 (1), but did himself proud in the fight and deserves other big opportunities in the future.
Also on the card, Mfusi Maxhayi, 10-5-1 (5), lost his WBF Intercontinental Bantamweight title on the scales when he failed to make weight for what was supposed to be his second title-defense against Mxolisi Nombewu.
Instead the title was only at stake for Nombewu, entering the bout at 6-5-1 (4), but Maxhayi was much too strong and won the fight when referee Alan Matakane stepped in to stop the onslaught at 1:03 of the second round.
Televised in South Africa by SuperSport, the massive show which included five championship fights, was promoted by Siphato Handi and his Mamali Boxing Productions.