The Sunday Mail
IT has been three decades of eating, sleeping and talking boxing for Stalin Mau Mau (pictured), the veteran manager and promoter who turned 66 last Thursday.
Almost half of those years have been dedicated to boxing. The revered local promoter passionately spoke about the sport when The Sunday Mail Sport sat down with him at his Greendale house on the eve of his 66th birthday.
He was scathing in his attack on the deteriorating standards of the local game.
Mau Mau was also blunt in his criticism of what he called “Mickey Mouse” boxing organisations that are sprouting across the world. He challenged local pugilists to fight for “real world titles”.
In Mau Mau’s view, Zimbabwe has never had a real world champion. To him, the authentic world titles should come from the four major sanctioning bodies – World Boxing Council (WBC), International Boxing Federation (IBF), World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Organisation (WBO). Charles Manyuchi, who currently holds the World Boxing Federation (WBF) and Global Boxing Union (GBU) world middleweight titles, is a former WBC silver welterweight champion.
That was the closest Zimbabwe has ever got to a major world title.
“We have to wake up, otherwise we will end up misleading ourselves to a dead end. As Zimbabwe, we need to start fighting for real world titles. The time has come.
“At the moment we are not going anywhere, there’s no way a GBU or WBF champion can challenge a WBC-rated boxer. I do not know where we are going. Anyone can challenge me on that one, but that is a fact,” Mau Mau said.
Since 1989 when he ventured into the sport, Mau Mau has worked with scores of highly rated boxers, including former Commonwealth flyweight champion Arifonso “Mosquito” Zvenyika. Zvenyika reached his zenith when he won the Commonwealth title after defeating Paul Weir of the United Kingdom at the Forte Cresta Hotel in Glasgow, Scotland, on January 26, 1998.
He successfully defended his title against another British boxer, Keith Knox, six months later, before finally relinquishing the Commonwealth belt to Damien Kelly on December 12, 1998. Mau Mau feels that Zimbabwe should go back to those days when the nation’s boxers would fight for “recognised” titles.
“Mine has been a long boxing journey, half of my life has been boxing. There were times when I wanted to quit but I soldiered on using my own resources. I started way back and worked with the likes of Trust Ndlovu, Anderson Size (late), and of course Mosquito (Zvenyika). Who doesn’t remember the heights that he (Zvenyika) scaled?
“As I grow older, that is why I feel I still have more to offer. In fact, I will die in boxing. Mine is not just passion, it is a vision to take Zimbabwe back to where it belongs boxing wise.”
In this 30-year journey, the 66-year-old Highfield-bred and former amateur boxer also worked with boxers such as Brian Kufahakuurayi, Kizito Mutawa (late), Ambrose Mlilo, Modecai “Big Fish” Donga, Farai Master Kachigwada, Misheck Kondwani and the Musiiwa brothers – Farai and Godfrey.
“Kondwani and Musiiwa, if you remember, both had a crack at the Commonwealth title. I have also worked with a number of female pugilists. Currently, I have Talent Nyagura and Zvikomborero Danzwa in the Mau Mau stable.”
As part of celebrating his 30 years in boxing, Mau Mau is planning to host a symposium in April, aimed at appraising the local fraternity on the ever changing boxing trends.
“Local boxing people are not on the same wavelength in terms of understanding the dynamics of the sport. Most people, including managers, promoters and members of the media industry, do not have a full appreciation of boxing ethics and the rules governing the sport. Some can’t even differentiate between a TKO and a KO, some don’t how the scoring is done.
“That is why we are arranging a boxing symposium. We will also talk about the relevance of some of these sanctioning bodies at this forum.
“We are going to have resource people from Zambia, Malawi and South Africa. I tell you, the understanding of the sport in Zimbabwe will never be the same after this symposium.
“There is need for our people to guard against being used as cannon fodder by these sprouting bodies. Maybe it’s all because of money, our boxers are now fighting for any title. I believe it’s better to first fight for peanuts before going for real diamonds.
“Therefore, we are continuing with our Peanuts to Diamonds boxing nights. On February 22 we are back at Magamba Hall in Warren Park, which has become our new boxing home,” said the veteran promoter.