When the then Minister of Education Sport, Arts and Culture David Coltart dissolved the previous boxing board last year, everyone’s hope was for a new beginning for local boxing.
Final whistle with Brian Nkiwane
With Zimbabwe set to host its first ever world title fight billed for the City Sports Centre in October, local boxing looks destined for good times, as the new boxing board has hit the ground running.
Historically, Zimbabwe hogged the limelight on the world map for producing good boxers, such as the late Proud “Kilimanjaro” Chinembiri, Langton “Schoolboy” Tinago, Mordecai Donga, Ambrose Mlilo and Zvenyika Arifonso. But over the past few years, the sport has taken a slump.
Community centres like Stoddard Hall, Windermere Hotel, Manor Hotel, Reynolds Inn and Bulawayo Polytechnic, were homes to the once popular sport, with Rampage Ring Promotions and Blow by Blow stables promoting events on a regular basis.
But after staying in office for such a long time, the previous boxing board could not bring new ideas to the sport. Mismanagement, failure to organise tournaments as well as cases of fighters failing tests, led to the dissolution of the board.
The failure to lure corporate support, saw the board failing to organise local tournaments, which then forced our local fighters to venture into foreign lands in search of fights.
In most cases, our fighters would win titles, but at the end of the day, they would be stripped after failing to defend those titles, as the mother board back home would not be able to organise fights for them.
This actually necessitated fighters to scramble for foreign trips, with Namibia being their favourite hunting ground.
A good example is that of 2009, when Thamsanqa Dube who won the Pan-African title, beating Jack Ells in Johannesburg, South Africa, was stripped of the title after he failed to defend it within the stipulated time frame.
Tinei Maridzo was not spared this embarrassment either, as he also lost his ABU title last year after failing to defend the title that he had won in South Africa.
Apart from failure to organise tournaments, as well as sourcing sponsorship for the sport, promoters became fraudulent, with boxers losing a lot of revenue.
Some promoters started manipulating fighters, which led to the suspension of a number of them.
Credit should go to Coltart, who came up with a timeous intervention and put in place a vibrant board which did not take time to get the ball rolling.
They started by licensing promoters which included the once suspended boxing guru, Boris Zneider, as well as Clyde Musonda of Delta Force Sports Trust — organisers of the upcoming WBU fight, among others.
The other thing which made the new board popular with fighters is the way they addressed percentages that are charged when fighters win titles.
The matter is still pending and recommendations regarding this are still to be made but fighters hope for the reduction of the charged percentage.
Sponsors have not lagged behind either, E-Sport, a leading boxing equipment seller, did not think twice about being part and parcel of the new boxing life, as they chipped in with equipment sponsorship.
The upcoming tournament will be sponsored to the tune of US$90 000, with both fighters from the main event set to pocket US$2 500 each, while fighters from the other six bouts will walk away with US$900 each. E-Sport will kit all the fighters for the seven bouts.
When Charles Manyuchi delivered the killer blow that floored Patrice Toke of Burkina Faso in the fifth round to clinch the African Boxing Union welterweight title, the win immediately spelt out a new era in Zimbabwean boxing.
The victory is set to transform the local boxing scene and local promoters agree his exploits could open the doors of success for local pugilists. Let’s wait and
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