AT the turn of the millennium, Stalin Mau Mau was the main man in local boxing, the Don King of these climes.
Armed with strong knowledge of boxing and a tongue to rival Don King, Mau Mau opened doors that many previously thought did not even exist. He was the man behind Arifonso Zvenyika’s ascendance to the Commonwealth title in 1998.
Foreign promoters queued to meet him and there was even talk of Mau Mau opening a boxing academy in partnership with a British organisation.
However, a couple of knocks saw the veteran promoter turn his back on promotion. In 2003 Zimbabwe pulled out of the Commonwealth as diplomatic relations between Harare and London reached a nadir. In a flash, the roads Mau Mau had paved into British boxing turned into dark alleys.
“Pulling out of the Commonwealth affected boxing in a very big way. The international world was beginning to take us seriously as a boxing nation and the future was certainly bright. The possibilities of hosting title fights in Zimbabwe, at places like Victoria Falls and Great Zimbabwe, were being explored and our boxers were attracting so much interest.
“However, a political decision threw the sport into the wilderness. We found ourselves back at zero and we have been paying the price ever since.”
Still, Mau Mau managed to secure an international fight for one of his boxers but that bout was never to be. A positive HIV test turned the dream of a million dollar fight into a nightmare.
“That too was tough to take, it’s a blow that came at a huge financial cost. As a promoter and manager you invest a lot into a boxer as they prepare for the fight and when you are told that the fight will not happen you are left with a massive hole in the coffers,” said Mau Mau.
Now he is back.
The veteran promoter equates his return to boxing promotion to an awakening phoenix and plans to host monthly bouts across Zimbabwe. “We held our first Boxing Graduation Night (recently) and it was a success. This is the awakening of a phoenix. I can assure you that the spirit I had before the disappointments is the same spirit that I still have. These are exciting times for the country and the sport of boxing,” he said. Mau Mau warns that his return to the big time spells doom to “mercenaries who have invaded the sport and are in the habit of abusing boxers”.
“There is a mercenary attitude in boxing,” he charged. “We have some individuals ferrying boxers to different countries in the region without even considering the interests of the athletes.
“All want these people are interested in is the money. You will realise that 90 percent of the fights that are fought outside the country end in defeat because people are taking short-cuts.
“The time for such criminality is over. The big man is back in business and ready to help take boxing to greater heights.”
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