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Africa’s forgotten boxing champ

They are hoping for a change in fortunes as the last time he faced Tineyi Maridzo, it took only 87 seconds for the Zimbabwean to land the South African his first defeat in his profession in 2009.

However, as was the case last time, one minute 11 seconds into the third round, Maridzo lands a devastating overhand right that sends Schultz crashing on his back on the canvas where he is counted out by referee Jaap van Niewenhuizen.

Not many were expecting the rewriting of the 2009 script in which Maridzo defeated Schultz to claim the title last year.
However, the Zimbabwean boxer not only caused an upset, but history was made as well as the fight emerged as the fastest knockout of the year and accolades pour in for the youngster. Maridzo brought back to Zimbabwe the World Boxing Association Africa super-middle weight-boxing belt.

Now, nearly two years later, the Warren Park based pugilist is a bitter man. He is wallowing in near poverty with no promoters coming on board thereby running the risk of being stripped of his belt.

Wearing a red vest written “Monya”, his eyes red and black lips that easily give away his character, Maridzo was not shy to reveal his frustration at everyone when Standardsport visited him at his home.

“I love my country but the country does not love me. I feel let down by my country. Twice I have raised the Zimbabwean flag high, but I got nothing. All that most of you guys have been working on is destroying me,” he said.
Now Maridzo has found solace in building a miniature Great Zimbabwe shrine at the gate of his parents’ home at Number 65, 1st Street Warren Park in Harare where he resides.

The wall is the shape of the Great Zimbabwe wall while the conical tower he built is about 50 centimeters long.

“Did you see what I am building outside at the gate? This is a symbol for the loyalty that I have for this country. It is a constant reminder to me of my roots and should never let my country down.

“The world should also see my devotion of this great country. Whilst everyone is obsessed about how much I get in a fight, I would focus on my next opponents,” he said.

Maridzo however remains optimistic of being afforded the opportunity of defending his belt.

“I am my own man and what I do is what I believe in. Right now fights have not been forthcoming, but I will not look for promoters. Challengers will come and one by one they will fall.
“The name that will be raised high is Zimbabwe regardless of what fellow Zimbabweans think about me,” he said.

The pugilist was supposed to defend his title with the latest having been billed for March 5 this year, but it failed to materialise.

However, World Boxing Organization (WBO) has given him a lifeline as they have now given him until June to defend his title.

The organisation’s fourth president Andrew Smale, speaking from his South Africa base, said if Maridzo does not defend his title by June, he would be stripped of the belt.

“It is very disappointing that promoters have not been coming on board for the youngster to defend his title. I am currently talking his managers who are based in United Kingdom.

“They promised me that they are working on something and I am sure that something will come up before June. We have given the pugilist up to June to defend his title and after that, we do not have an option, but to strip him,” he said.

Zimbabweans are known for supporting their “Diamond boys” the likes of Munya Chidzonga, world swimming champion Kirsty Coventry and athlete Elliot Mujaji. Why can’t we do the same for Maridzo?

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