By Ron Jackson
It is really make or break for former IBF junior lightweight champion Mzonke Fana when he meets South African champion Jasper Seroka in an IBF junior lightweight title eliminator at the Nasrec Indoor Arena on Friday night. The winner will earn the right to challenge the victor of the upcoming August 22 fight in Houston, Texas between champion Malcolm Klassen and Robert Guerrero. Fana from Khayelitsha in the Western Cape, is at a crucial time in his career. At 35-years-of-age, he needs to be at his best to try to regain the IBF junior lightweight belt that he lost to Cassius Baloyi in April of last year. Fana is ranked at number four in the most recent IBF ratings and Seroka from Namkgale in Limpopo comes in at the tenth spot.
Seroka (20-1, 9 KOs) who is trained by Gert Strydom in Gauteng made his pro debut in April 2002 with a first round stoppage win over Kenneth Denga. He won the African boxing union super featherweight title in September 2008 when he outpointed Gabriel Phakula, and in his next fight in October he outpointed Godfrey Nzimande to win the SA junior lightweight title. In his most recent fight in March this year, he was most impressive in stopping Wandile Mseleku to retain the SA title. The only loss on Seroka’s record was a six round points decision against Malcolm Klassen in June 2003.
Fana (28-4, 11 KOs), who has fought at a much higher level than Seroka, won the IBF junior lightweight belt in April 2007 when he upset Malcolm Klassen in Kahyelitsha and then made a successful defense against Javier Osvaldo before losing the belt to Cassius Baloyi in Mafikeng, and last time out in August last year he stopped Victor Manon in the third round. The super fit Seroka will be confident and ambitious, but will he have enough to extend the more experienced Fana in a fight that should go the full 12 rounds.
Promoter Branco Milenkovic of Branco Sports Promotions has two good fights on the undercard with former commonwealth bantamweight champion Tshifhiwa Munyai in against Ghanaian Galley Cudjoe in a ten round featherweight contest and former WBF light flyweight champion Muvhuso Nedzanani in against Tanzanian Ramadan Mkundi for the WBO Africa junior bantamweight title.