By Ron Jackson
In a rather untidy affair, Mzonke Fana stopped Jasper Seroka in the sixth round at the Nasrec Indoor Arena in Johannesburg on Friday night to become the mandatory challenger for the IBF junior lightweight title on a Branco Sports Productions tournament. The former IBF champion made a slow start as Seroka (128.9) possibly shaded the first and third rounds before Fana (128.9) systematically broke down the SA champion’s defence until American referee Wayne Kelly stepped in at 1 minute 39 seconds of the sixth round. In the fourth round both fighters where swinging and missing badly with Seroka guilty of holding and pushing as the fight deteriorated into a mauling and wrestling affair. Referee Wayne Kelly failed to take control of the fight and never really warned either fighter of the numerous infringements.
In round five the experienced Fana began to take control as he jolted Seroka’s head back on numerous occasions and staggered him with a big right hand just before the bell.
A confident Fana was in command early in the sixth round and after hurting Seroka with a series of right hands to the head the referee stepped in to call the fight off.
The 35-year-old Rose of Khayelitsha, a talented professional, remained calm throughout and was just too clever and experienced for the 28-year-old Seroka who possibly found the occasion too big for him as he fought totally out of character.
Fana will now meet the winner of the fight between the IBF champion, South Africa’s Malcolm Klassen, and Robert Guerrero who meet in Houston, Texas, on August 22.
Fana, who lost the belt to Cassius Baloyi in April last year, improved his record to (29-4, 12 KOs) and Seroke dropped to (20-2, 9 KO).
In the main supporting bout Kaizer Mabuza (139.1) was just too strong for Thulani Mkhwanazi (138.6) when he retained his SA junior welterweight title with a third round technical knockout.
Mkhwanazi was down for a count in the first and another two counts in the second round and after going down for the third time in the third round referee Thabo Spampool waved the fight off at 2 minutes 27 seconds into the round.
Mabuza who was making the second defence of his title improved his record to (21-6-3, 13 KOs) and Mkhwanazi dropped to (10-7-1, 5 KOs).
In a clash for the vacant WBO Africa junior bantamweight title the classy Muvhuso Nedzanani (114.1) knocked out Ramadhan Mkudi (113.9) Tanzania in the third round.
After a slow start Nedzanani (23-1-3, 13 KOs) picked up the pace in the third round before landing a classic left hook to the jaw that sent Mkudi (10-2, 4 KOs) flat on his back.
Referee Tony Nyangiwe counted him out at 1 minute 34 seconds into the round.
In a scheduled ten round international bantamweight contest Tshifhiwa Munyai (114.1) stopped Galley Codjoe (113.9) from Tanzania at 2 minutes 28 seconds into the first round.
The taller Munyai was in control from the first bell as he boxed from behind his educated left jab against the southpaw Codjoe before stunning him with some big right hands to the jaw that prompted referee Jaap van Nieuwenhuizen to step in and call the fight off.
The Tanzanian complained that the stoppage was premature, but he was on a hiding to nothing at the time of the stoppage.
Munyai takes his record to (18-1-1, 9 KOs) and Codjoe drops to (13-5-2, 4 KOs).
In the best bout of the night lightweights Joseph Modise (134.7) and Jason Bedeman (134.2) fought to a draw over six rounds and in a flyweight contest Anele Makhwelo (111.7) beat Patson Munyaro (111.7) on points over six rounds.