The juggling act of a single mother boxer

23 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
The juggling act of a single mother boxer IN HAPPIER TIMES . . . Kudakwashe Chiwandire holds the WBC Interim Super Bantamweight belt in the company of her manager Clyde Musonda

The Sunday Mail

Langton Nyakwenda

SHE held the nation spellbound with her breathtaking pace and execution inside the ring.

In just one year, Kudakwashe “Take Money” Chiwandire rose to international stardom, becoming the only Zimbabwean to fight for a World Boxing Council world title.

Between February 2022 and March 2023, the boxer was the poster girl of Zimbabwean boxing. She reached the pinnacle on March 18, 2023, when she challenged for the WBC Super Bantamweight belt against Yamileth Mercado of Mexico in Chihuahua.

Although she lost by a unanimous decision, thanks to some poor travel arrangements that saw her arrive in Mexico a few hours before the fight, Chiwandire had already etched her name in boxing folklore.

Just when her career looked like one that was destined for the bright lights of global boxing arenas, the flame suddenly died. She has not been in the ring for exactly 463 days since her Mexican ordeal.

And boxing fans have been enquiring a lot about the whereabouts of the 29-year-old former WBC Interim Super Bantamweight champion. Well, Chiwandire is still around, but struggling to make ends meet. She has stopped training because of lack of funding.

Chiwandire is now hustling around to fend for her three kids, who include a set of twins. The multi-talented boxer is also a hairdresser by profession, but she says business has been low.

When The Sunday Mail Sport caught up with her on Thursday last week, she was in Harare’s central business district to have her mobile phone fixed.

“I dropped my phone recently, and it developed some problems, so I am trying to have it fixed so that I get back on the WhatsApp platform,” she said.

The conversation then switched to boxing, the sport that made her famous in the country between 2022 and 2023. Sadly, Chiwandire has been forgotten, thanks to her absence from the ring since March 18, 2023.

But the good news is that there are plans to have the pugilist back in business with a title fight against Ellen Simwaka of Zambia. She is set to challenge for the WBC Africa Super Bantamweight title in Harare on August 31.

“I am around, but things have been a bit tight,” she told The Sunday Mail Sport. “I have stopped training because I also need to hustle around for my kids. If I concentrate on training when I am not getting anything, then I will suffer. Fans are asking me a lot of questions whenever they meet me. Questions like: Why are you no longer boxing? Are you out of the sport now?”

While she has her eyes on the WBC Africa title, a lot of issues are diverting her attention.

“Without proper sponsorship, I can’t keep on training,” she said.

“I am also a hairdresser, but at the hair salon, it has been difficult because you get one or two clients after a long time. I am confident the good days will roll back; it’s just a matter of time and resources.”

She has a modest record of six wins, three losses and one draw, but her talent pushed her up the ladder on the WBC rankings, quicker than expected.

Her manager, Clyde Musonda of Delta Force Boxing, remains optimistic.

“I am 100 percent certain Kuda will bounce back,” he said.

Chiwandire is still ranked the best African female Super Bantamweight boxer, at number 15 in the world.

“She is still a prolific boxer, who just needs support,” said Musonda.

“We are targeting the WBC Africa Super Bantamweight title, but we are facing challenges in terms of preparations.”

The boxer stunned the boxing world when she defeated the highly rated former WBC world champion, Catherine Phiri, in Lusaka in 2022, to land the WBC Interim Super Bantamweight title. She defended the belt against Munoz at the Harare International Conference Centre on October 15, 2022. She then made history when she took on world champion Mercado in Chihuahua.

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