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‘Lockdown a big blow to boxing’

BY MAGRETH RUZVIDZO

GOVERNMENT’S announcement of new COVID-19 restrictions has frustrated any hope of recovery for the sporting fraternity.

In an interview, Delta Force Boxing Academy manager Cyde Musonda said boxing has been affected as some athletes were likely to lose titles if sport does not resume soon.

“There are some boxers holding international belts and if they don’t fight, they are going to lose titles without throwing a punch,” Musonda said.

“We had thought that boxing was now back and rolling,” he said. “We had lined up a number of events, including the Pound for Pound series nights which we had planned to host every month. Our calendar of events had already attracted foreign promoters who were willing to send boxers to Zimbabwe. All that effort is now in vain due to the suspension of sporting activities.”

Two boxing events had already been held this year, the Peanuts for Diamonds, which was promoted by Stalin Mau Mau, and the first series of the Pound for Pound earlier this month.

The second series is slated for August 6.

“We have signed contracts with some boxers for this event and some will be expected to defend their local titles on the date.  We also want Monalisa Sibanda to defend her Women’s International Boxing Association intercontinental belt for the first time here in Zimbabwe on the same date against Happy Daudi of Tanzania,” Musonda said.

“We are happy with the progress we were making in reviving the sport and sponsors were beginning to warm up to us. This latest setback will see some of them losing interest.”

Then there is also another boxing tournament lined up in Masvingo on July 3 that would have seen boxing superstar Charles Manyuchi defending his World Alliance Boxing Association (Waba) and World Boxing Federation (WBF) titles. This tournament now hangs in the balance.

Zimbabwe National Boxing and Wrestling Control Board has said they will plead with the government to give a special waiver for Manyuchi to defend his belts.

He was initially supposed to defend the titles last year, but could not because of another lockdown. Waba and WBF have threatened to strip him of the titles if he doesn’t defend next month.

“Though we know that COVID-19 is there and it kills, but I think something can be done. Boxers and all the other sportspersons have to survive as well,” Musonda said.

He stressed that all COVID-19 protocols were observed in all the tournaments held so far.

  • Follow Magreth on Twitter @MagrethRuzvidzo

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