Can Phiri turn dream into reality?

03 Dec, 2023 - 00:12 0 Views
Can Phiri turn dream into reality?

The Sunday Mail

Langton Nyakwenda

WHILE most of his peers at Hatcliffe 2 Primary School aspired to be pilots or doctors when they grew up, Aliyah Phiri’s ambitions appeared peculiar to both his peers and teachers.

He wanted to be a boxer, as he came from a family of pugilists.

His brother Ali “Otto” Phiri is a former boxer.

Their father, Issa, was also a renowned boxer, too.

“When I was at primary school, teachers would ask us to write compositions that outlined our ambitions in life.

“I remember most of my classmates would write about wanting to be doctors, footballers or pilots, but I would always write about my desire to become a

“The inspiration came from my brother Ali, who was a good boxer back then,” Phiri, who is now a professional boxer and is coached by is brother Ali, told The Sunday Mail Sport.

Interestingly, he is also on the verge of becoming an African champion.

The 23-year-old will fight Israel “Money Machine” Kamwamba of Malawi for the vacant African Boxing Union (ABU) lightweight title in Harare on Friday.

And could become an African champion in only his ninth fight.

Currently, he has a 6-2-0 record.

“The fight is taking too long to happen and I can’t wait anymore,” he said.

“I have been waiting for this day . . . the day I will be crowned king.

“I believe in myself, I believe in my coach and I believe we have trained hard for this fight.”

But Kamwamba is no pushover.

Not only is the Malawian six years older than Phiri, he is also more experienced, having fought in 25 bouts.

He has 14 wins, 10 losses and one draw.

He also wrested the World Boxing Federation (WBF) International lightweight belt from Evans “Vanso” Husayiwevhu in Chivhu on July 28 this year.

“Kamwamba is not easy prey; I know he will give his best, but I will give my best, too. The better boxer on the day, who is obviously going to be me, will win the title,” he said.

“I have worked so hard that sometimes I feel like giving up, but my coach keeps encouraging me. We are looking beyond the African Boxing Union title because I know Kamwamba will fall.

“Fans should actually come early for the fight because if they don’t, they will have to rely on information from others.

“The ultimate target is to win the WBC (World Boxing Council) gold belt, but we are taking it step by step.”

However, his coach, Ali, thinks the boxer is “about 95 percent ready” for the fight.

“We went to Cape Town for some sparring sessions against some good boxers there.

“We want to make sure the boxer is in perfect condition because we don’t want any slip-up.

“Aliyah is fighting on home soil and he will have all the support, so nothing can stop him from claiming the ABU belt.

“Expect an early knockout because my boxer is hungry and sharp,” said Ali.

“Zimbabwe is blessed with a lot of good boxers and the country can produce more champions if there is support from the corporate world and Government.”

Aliyah belongs to the Otto Boxing stable, which is also home to Tinashe Majoni, who will take on Alex Bilali of Malawi in the main supporting bout.

Mike Musariri will fight Tendai Avoni of Chegutu, while Shungu Kupani will square up against Everson Musambidzi.

A fight between sons of former boxing stars Gilbert “Giro” Josamu and Arifonso “Mosquito” Zvenyika is also on the cards.

Hillary Josamu will take on Arifonso Zvenyika Jr in a four-round bout.

Promising heavyweight boxer Anesu Motsi is also expected to turn professional against Kudzaishe Chingoma.

Motsi is trained by renowned national amateur boxing coach Alexander Kwangwari.

“Zimbabwe has been struggling to find the next Proud ‘Kilimanjaro’ Chinembiri, but I am certain Motsi can rise to become a champion if he remains focussed,” said Kwangwari.



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