Phiri readies for African Boxing Union title defence

25 Feb, 2024 - 00:02 0 Views
Phiri readies for African Boxing Union title defence Aliyah Phiri

The Sunday Mail

Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S rising boxing star Aliyah Phiri has returned to the gym to prepare for a decisive international title fight that could elevate his status on the African continent.

Phiri will defend his African Boxing Union (ABU) lightweight belt against Saidi Mkola of Tanzania in Harare on March 22.

Victory will set the Zimbabwean up for a shot at the newly introduced World Boxing Council (WBC) Africa belt, which is now the recognised passage to the more prestigious WBC titles. The 23-year-old Phiri has become one of the most sought-after boxers on the continent after winning the ABU lightweight title in December last year.

Phiri clinched the vacant title with a clinical second-round technical knockout win over the highly rated Israel “Money Machine” Kamwamba of Malawi in Harare on December 8.

That victory improved his record to 7-2-0.

The Hatcliffe-bred boxer is now bracing for his 10th professional fight.

Phiri’s camp is now targeting victory over Mkola to move closer to the WBC belts.

“Our eyes are firmly set on the prize; the target is to get the World Boxing Council belts, and the journey is well on course,” said Ali Phiri, the boxer’s trainer, who is also the pugilist’s brother.

Phiri is the only Zimbabwean boxer with an ABU title. He is following in the footsteps of Charles Manyuchi, who rose from being an African champion to become one of the most respected boxers under the WBC.

“Being an African champion is not easy and we are talking of a huge achievement here, so there is need for the boxer to keep his feet on the ground and continue to work hard.

“The boxer is back to serious training and slowly getting into shape ahead of this title defence,” said Ali Phiri.

“If he successfully defends this title, then we are going for WBC Africa; after that, we can qualify to challenge for the WBC titles.

“Nothing can stop us . . . he is determined and raring to go.”

Phiri’s opponent, Mkola, is a 30-year-old Tanzanian orthodox boxer with nine wins and a single loss.

He has won five of those by way of knockouts. But, against Phiri, the Tanzanian will face a rising star who is now highly regarded by the WBC. At number 34 on the current WBC ratings, Phiri is the best African lightweight boxer and is also now a three-star boxer, according to Boxrec.

Phiri fights under Otto Boxing Promotions, which is also home to a number of bright prospects, including Tinashe “Jones” Majoni.

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