You will find him at Mbare’s Stoddart mini halls on a daily basis where he is imparting knowledge and sharing his experiences with keen young boxers.
yesteryear profile with MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
As a two-time former Commonwealth champion, Alfonso “Mosquito” Zvenyika has dedicated his life to helping young people make a life out of boxing.
But what drives him the most is the need to ensure upcoming boxers do not make the same mistakes he made when he was still on top of the world.
Mosquito is leading a life that does not reflect his past as a former Commonwealth champion, and he blames it on lack of advice.
He was once famous, he was once rich but the end of it all was a stint in jail followed by abject poverty. He is, however, determined to have his Mosquito Boxing School of Excellence create champions on the international arena and champions in life, which is his ultimate goal.
While he is no longer looked at as a once celebrated sportsperson, a bunch of 25 kids have chosen to follow him for mentorship.
“Every day after training I lecture to them about staying away from women, alcohol and drugs and that they should not get into unnecessary fights. I don’t want a child who reminds me of the mistakes I am trying to forget,” a sombre Zvenyika told Standardsport last week.
“I was in prison because of wrong movements — because I did not have anybody to show me [the way]. What I will teach these youngsters is not academic but things I learnt through my life. The mistakes I made and the lessons I learnt,” he said.
Now a born-again Christian and a member of the United Apostolic Church in Mbare, Zvenyika quoted scripture time and again during the course of the interview.
The 41-year-old father of eight shared his goals and dreams.
“I want to create jobs for young guys in the community. I want to keep them from drugs and I decided to give them sport free of charge as a gift from my heart. Sometimes I do not have mealie-meal in my house, but I still come here to train. I don’t miss a day.
“I see a bright future for this academy. But we need a lot of things which I can’t provide on my own for this to be called an academy. I see many champions, not because I train them but it’s my genuine assessment and this academy will be one of the best this country has ever had,” Zvenyika declared.
However, Zvenyika admits that without sponsorship or other forms of assistance, it is going to take very long to get to where he intends to be.
Among the things the school needs are gloves, head gears, speed balls, skipping ropes, punching bags, hand press, training and tournament gloves.
Zvenyika says he also needs books for theory lessons and graphical presentation of fundamentals.
Overtime, he would also want to open his own academy premises with its own name to ensure he leaves a lasting legacy.
The Mosquito stable boasts of 25 budding boxers whose ages range from 14 to 21. Some of the promising boxers include Tapiwa Duri Chida, Munyaradzi Chigidi, Ian Angel, Zvenyika Alfonso Jr and Norman Alfonso.
Mosquito has already made boxing champions in this country in Gibson Mapfumo, former super-middleweight, Wesley Mcdade, Tinashe Madziwana, super-bantamweight champion as well as Ronald Tamani.
The big news from the Zvenyika camp is that he is planning a huge farewell fight to revive the memories of his glory days and show the naysayers that he is not a spent force.
“I am planning one more fight to bring back the memories for the old boxing fans. When they hear that mosquito has a tournament, they will come to support. People will see that I am still in shape, contrary to reports that I am sick and dying. It would also be a good launch pad for my school of excellence,” Zvenyika said.
One of the biggest life lessons for Zvenyika came when he got arrested at the turn of the century for theft and served 20 months in prison.
“There was a time when I had things, people came to me and pretended to love me, pretended to be my friends but because of blindness I did not see it. And when I got broke and was incarcerated, all of them ran away,” he said ruefully.
One of his students Ian Angel gave a testimony of how Mosquito had impacted their lives.
“It’s not all about boxing in this academy; we are being taught discipline. Mosquito is correcting all his mistakes on us. He is doing his best so that we can be better and good in the community,” he said.