AFTER a frustrating 2017 in which he suffered his first defeat as a professional under controversial circumstances before his bid for the British title was stalled due to postponements, rising boxing star Tamuka Muchapondwa is itching to get back in the ring and prove his doubters wrong in 2018.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The 24 year-old England-based Zimbabwean will challenge for the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) when he takes on former Commonwealth welterweight champion John O’Donnell at the O2 Indigo in London on February 16.
Muchapondwa and O’Donnell were scheduled to battle it out for the English title in October last year but the latter pulled out of the tournament, citing injury.
This is the second time O’Donnell has pulled out of the fight, drawing the ire of Muchapondwa, whose scheduled fights against Englishmen Rob Hunt and Kelvin Young last year were also postponed.
“It’s been very frustrating, especially when I’m investing my own money and time into the fight and getting nothing back,” Muchapondwa told The Sports Hub in an interview from his UK base.
“However, the goal of being champion is what has kept me focused and determined because I know it will all be worth it after all,” he said.
Muchapondwa, who was born in Harare’s high-density surburb of Glen View before migrating to the UK at the age of 11, has won 16 of his 17 professional bouts since turning professional in 2012.
His only professional dent came after losing to Cameroonian Serge Ambomo in a controversial split decision in what was his only fight last year on May 5.
Muchapondwa, who kickstarted his preparations for the, upcoming fight two weeks ago said he was aiming to make a strong statement by knocking out O’Donnell.
“My preparations have started well, we are in the second week of the training camp and everything is on schedule. I’m feeling fit, strong and sharp; we [have] been working a lot on power punches because I’m looking to take out John O’Donnell and make a statement that I’m back and better than I was before.
“I expect that’s gonna happen but my only worry is that John O’Donnell won’t turn up for the fight like he did in the past, but either way, I will be prepared for him or whoever they have to replace him,” declared Muchapondwa.
Muchapondwa’s profile in British boxing has been on a steady rise since his impressive victory by majority decision over Northern Irishman Paddy Gallagher in a British title eliminator in November 2016.
The contest was described by critics, including promoter and former world champion Barry McGuigan, as the fight of the night, even topping the main event that saw Englishman George Groves retain his WBA International super-middleweight title against Germany’s Eduard Gutknecht.
Next month he will be hoping to recapture that form against the 32-year-old former Commonwealth champion O’Donnell, who has raked up 32 wins from 34 bouts since turning professional in 2003.