The Sunday Mail
Gilbert Munetsi recently Chivhu
SEVEN Chivhu-based boxing referees and judges who recently completed a ZNBCB-sanctioned course were officially handed over their certificates and had a celebration party hosted for them by the Charles Manyuchi Boxing Academy.
The face of the academy, champion Charles Manyuchi, organised the event in his capacity as the brand ambassador of Chivhu town.
The new ring officials are John Mushayi, Garirai Alison, Abigail Masuka, Doreen Matsambe, Tambudzai Katsonga, Nyarai Moyo and Fibion Mashava.
The function, held at Rugare Safaris and Lodges, 15km outside Chivhu town, was graced by the Member of Parliament for Chikomba West, Dr Mike Bimha, and partners of the CMBA who included Net*One, Phil-Jen Country Lodges, Magestics Enterprises, MrT35, Fair Deal and a number of community leaders.
All seven graduates are Chivhu residents and they are founders of Friends of Manyuchi, a local supporters’ grouping established to render moral support to (Charles) Manyuchi each time he took to the ring.
During their tour of duty, they went as far as Zambia and the recent gesture by the academy and its partners to equip them with officiating skills is an acknowledgement of the good they did to the champion during his prime.
There are indications that CMBA will host their first tournament for 2020 in Chivhu during the first quarter of the year, and plans are afoot that all the match officials will be drawn from this group as a way to cut down on costs.
Manyuchi will be defending his three titles (GBU, UBC and WBF) and fighting for a fourth (WBO) against Dennis Onyango of Kenya.
The new ring officials honoured effectively become the second batch of professional referees and judges to be trained in Zimbabwe in a very long time. Previously, the country has had to look up to neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Malawi each time a promotion was on the cards.
The fact that five out of the seven recent graduates are female speaks to the national boxing authorities’ vision to see women elevated in this sport which was once predominantly led by their male counterparts.
Before the coming in of this new batch, Diana Makumbe was the sole woman referee and judge in the whole country.
MP Bimha applauded the move by the champion to empower his compatriots, adding this was a form of employment in an industry that has since shaken off the underdog tag.