Funeka sneers at his critics
Mdantsane veteran boxer Ali Funeka has accused Xaba Promotions (XP) of using rookie Uyanda Nogogo as a pawn to fight their own battle against him.
Funeka made the accusations after he handed Nogogo a systematic beating before forcing him to quit in the sixth round of their junior-middleweight bout at Orient Theatre on Sunday.
The 40-year-old veteran of 53 fights was perceived to be shopworn and ready for order for the young Nogogo, who is half his age.
But Funeka turned the script upside down when he matched his young opponent punch for punch and even fought his fight en route to scoring the stoppage win and maintained his perfect unbeaten record at the Orient Theatre venue.
In the days leading up to the fight, Funeka refused to market the fight by participating in media interviews, fuelling perceptions that he was scared of the rookie.
“I did not see the need to engage in public spat with a young boxer like Nogogo,” he said.
Funeka blamed XP for using Nogogo to fight their differences with him.
The former world title contender’s relations with XP soured after his loss to Samuel Vargas in 2017 in Canada, where his trip had been facilitated by the promotional company.
This made Funeka turn down several attempts by XP to pit him against Nogogo.
“They [XP] use Nogogo to fight our differences, forgetting that in the ring it would be him and me,” said Funeka.
“I laughed when they went on and on about how Nogogo was going to knock me out. I keep saying I taught Nogogo boxing, even though he is denying it.”
Funeka said he held back when he sparred with Nogogo because he did not want to hurt him. “I think he mistook our sparring sessions as real fights, forgetting that I held back,” he said.
Funeka thanked number one fan Joy Greyvenstein for praying for him at the weigh-in of the fight. “She told me that she was behind me and even prayed for me at the weigh-in. That gave me strength to double my efforts.”
Asked if he would continue fighting despite his advanced age, Funeka said: “I want to challenge for the SA welterweight title and continue with my forays abroad.”..