The Sunday Mail
WHAT a bumper year it was for Zimbabwean boxing!
A year that began with Elvis “Bulawayo Bomber” Moyo retaining his World Boxing Federation African Heavyweight title in an exciting duel with Congolese Knife Didier at the City Sports Centre, yielded a total of 12 tournaments, as the local boxing scene rose from a deep slumber. Described as a year of boxing renewal by veteran promoter Stalin Mau Mau, 2018 saw the birth of new national champions while on the international scene it was a mixed bag of achievements for the likes of Charles Manyuchi, Chamunorwa “Sting” Gonorenda and Moyo.
The year 2018 saw the emergence of a new boxing force, Philip “Mad Cobra” Musariri, a new female star shone in the form of Chiedza Homakoma while the boxing “Chairman” Tinashe Mwadziwana continued to rule in the super bantamweight division.
Mau Mau held four tournaments, South African promoters Kalakoda staged the same number while the Charles Manyuchi Boxing Academy promoted three tournaments in Chivhu and Masvingo. Gypsite Boxing Promotions capped the year with their “Ring of Fire” night on Unity Day.
“It (2018) was the most hectic year in the past decade. It was a renewal of six or seven years ago when we used to have at least one tournament per month.
“But I still feel international promoters like Kalakoda need to up their game in terms of conforming to our local rules and regulations. They had a badly organised tournament in November which was characterized by late payment of boxers.
“There was a lot of mess,” charged Mau Mau. World Boxing Federation African heavyweight champion Moyo blasted Kalakoda for “ill-treating” local pugilists before pulling out of the November 30 event held at the City Sports Centre. Despite the absence of Moyo, that November 30 tournament turned out to be Musariri’s night as the Chitungwiza bred pugilist introduced himself to the national audience with a stunning comeback win over Tapiwa Jaravaza of Gweru in a lightweight match. “Mad Cobra” who hails from Box Africa Limited stable, won all his four fights in 2018, the first one away in Malawi against Mudi Kuminga before triumphing again in Gaborone against Tshepi Mokgadi.
He beat Peter Pambeni at Raylton Sports Club in August before capping his season with a fine show against Jaravaza.
“I was one of the busiest fighters in 2018 and I think I am an inspiration to other upcoming boxers who grew up in ghettoes,” said Musariri who was raised in the squalid conditions of St Mary’s in Chitungwiza. After another fruitful year, national super bantamweight champion Mwadziwana is now looking forward to an even more prosperous 2019.
“I ruled the local scene once again in 2018 but I think its high time I take my skills to international rings especially in 2019,” the “Chairman” told The Sunday Mail. However, renowned trainer Clyde Musonda feels local pugilists still have a long way to go before they can meet international standards.
“Yes, we had numerous tournaments in 2018 but personally I feel our boxers are still to match international standards.
“Trainers have a lot of work to do, starting from amateur level,” opined Musonda. Former WBC Silver welterweight champion Manyuchi alternated between promotion and fighting, but got more success off the ring. He lost on points to Russian champion Magomed Kurbanov in Yekaterinburg on August 19, in a non-title fight he intended to use to launch his comeback bid. However, the charitable Manyuchi, who has helped budding boxers through his Charles Manyuchi Boxing Academy, staged three tournaments in Chivhu and Masvingo.
“We learn each and every year and we keep inspiring young people. We learnt a lot as Charles Manyuchi Academy and we are ready to deliver in 2019,” said Manyuchi.
What began as a sweet 2018 for Chamunorwa “Sting” Gonorenda, turned sour later on as the cruiserweight boxer lost his WBF African title to arch rival Tony Salam of Nigeria in a rematch staged in Lagos on October 26.
The 35-year-old Gonorenda had beaten Salam, albeit in controversial circumstances, when the two clashed at the City Sports Centre in Harare on August 31.