The Sunday Mail
SHE turns 40 on Thursday and, naturally, she is contemplating retiring from a sport that has sustained her for almost two decades. Monalisa “Queen of the Jungle” Sibanda is one of the pioneers of female boxing in Zimbabwe.
Like a good dancer, she knows when it is time to leave the stage.
However, she is not retiring yet, as she still has some unfinished business.
Sibanda is preparing for a Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) world title welterweight match against Germany’s Alicia Kummer at the end of February.
The seasoned pugilist is leaving nothing to chance.
She has gone the extra mile by roping in former Kyokushin world champion Samson Muripo to assist her prepare both physically and mentally for the fight.
“I have been into boxing for more than 25 years now, from amateur to professional level, and it’s been a very long journey,” Sibanda told The Sunday Mail Sport.
She started boxing in Mabvuku, before turning professional in 2005 after fighting Zambian Esther Phiri.
“I will be turning 40 on January 26, and I am close to my retirement, so, I am preparing for that,” she said.
She warned her next opponent to be wary of “the last kick of a dying horse”.
“I chose to work with Muripo, the country’s top karateka, because I have realised that when I trained with him back in 2006, my fights were very easy.
“He is a much disciplined and no-nonsense person when it comes to business,” she said.
Resources permitting, she would like to camp in South Africa and get different international sparring partners.
“I have already spoken to different people who are there and they have welcomed me. “This is a big opportunity for me since I will get to know different sparring partners,” she said.
WIBA is preparing for a venue and is sponsoring the tournament.
Sibanda says 2022 was a great year, during which she managed to defend her WIBA title against Valento Aciro.
“I managed to defend my WIBA title and I am grateful to God,” she said.
The win left her with a record of six wins, nine draws and no losses.
“I have also managed to play some title matches, some of which I won and others I lost, but it’s a great change for me and I want to thank everyone who helped me through.” She also took time to reflect on the road she has travelled and the many challenges she has faced.
“Since the beginning of this journey, I have never fought for solid money, like an amount that can buy a car or house.
“I never got a sponsor who offered to buy me a car or a house. It’s a bit complicated, but I am still in this game.
“It’s my talent, passion and gift.”