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ThinkerBell turns thoughts from proposing to retaining unbeaten record

12 October 2017 - 09:28 By Bongani Magasela
Mark Farah‚ rated No.7 in the junior middleweight division‚ is undefeated after four fights.
Mark Farah‚ rated No.7 in the junior middleweight division‚ is undefeated after four fights.
Image: Supplied

Mark “ThinkerBell” Farah – who went down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend inside a boxing ring in Boksburg on her birthday last month – has promised to retain his unblemished record on October 22.

The 26-year-old crowd favourite trained by Alan Toweel Junior‚ who is a cousin to Farah’s father‚ will face tough-as-nails Congolese Jeff Otiombio at Blairgowrie Recreation Centre‚ where Supreme Boxing Promotions will stage an eight-bout tournament.

Farah‚ rated No.7 in the junior middleweight division‚ is undefeated after four fights.

“I will be involved in my first fight against a southpaw and I know how difficult it is to face a left-hander but I am gonna be victorious‚” he said on Tuesday.

“There is no doubt about that. It is a big one for me but I have been sparring against a left-hander‚ Jeff ‘911’ Magagane‚ and I have learnt a lot from him because he is a very intelligent boxer who makes you think all the time.”

Farah – who proposed moments after defeating Welcome Malumbu at Presley's Night Club to girlfriend Sharne Gerhardt – said sparring against Magagane enabled him to learn to move to the left.

Fighting a left-hander is a mammoth task to even seasoned boxers. Right-hand leads traditionally are viewed as an effective tool for right-handed boxers against left-handers‚ whereas they are far more difficult to land a punch against another right handed fighter.

Part of the left-hander’s advantage is the awkward position they impose on a right-handed fighter. The usual right-versus-right symmetry is not there.

The problem is further compounded by the fact that since there are far fewer left-handers than right-handers in the world‚ the right-hander is always at a loss experience-wise when compared to the left-hander.

Common problems when knife-fighting a left-hander‚ which can also relate to boxing‚ are:

* knives on the same side ("mirror image") can cause confusion and stress;

* traditional angles of attack and defense rendered ineffective or awkward;

* the knife hand is a closer target and more vulnerable;

* the off-hand (live hand) becomes less effective due to the distance from weapons; live hand checking‚ passing and parrying is harder;

* secondary weapons may become less effective for similar reasons

* Knowing that the opponent is left-handed (and has an advantage because of it) may cause stress in itself - at least in a real knife combat situation!

Farah was paralysed and could not walk for two years.

“I was going for a header during training when I played for Tyler Junior College soccer team in America. I went for a header and went down. I could not feel my leg and I was told I would never walk again‚” he said.

“Three discs slipped in my spine. I was also in pain every day of my life. I had to slide around the pillow for three years.

“I started fixing myself by doing some exercises. I started crawling. I then started walking slowly and it was a battle and I have now been walking for three years.

“It was painful and I got used to pain. I started boxing a year ago. I put my first pair of gloves. I got my license this year and have four fights in four months and I am undefeated."

Farah said he also played football for Moroka Swallows’ youth.

- TimesLIVE