The Sunday Mail
IT has been a traumatising week for upcoming boxer Tinashe Majoni.
His camp has had to engage the services of a psychologist, who has been working on the boy’s mental state since Monday when tragedy hit local boxing.
Majoni feels he might have caused the death of his opponent Taurai Zimunya when the two clashed in a non-title fight at the “Rise of Champions” tournament held in Borrowdale last Sunday.
Zimunya died at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals shortly after he was knocked out in the third round of a six-round fight.
The boxing fraternity says this is the first such tragedy in the country.
Although fatalities are not uncommon in boxing, last weekend’s tragedy has been a painful pill to swallow for Majoni, who, according to those close him, has been contemplating quitting the sport for good.
The boxer from the Charles Manyuchi Academy has been going through a tough time, according to academy director Prosper Chibaya.
“The boy is still traumatised, he has been crying and shivering since Monday,” said Chibaya.
“At least today (Thursday) he has started talking, but the psychologist has advised that he should not talk to people, or grant any interviews at the moment.”
Majoni’s family paid homage to the Zimunya family in Dzivarasekwa on Thursday in the company of members from the boxing board’s secretariat.
The 23-year-old Zimunya was buried in Harare on Wednesday.
“We are as much surprised and shocked with the incident as this has never happened in Zimbabwe.
“This was not intentional and we are also hurting like any other person.
“As the Charles Manyuchi Academy, we went and paid homage to the Zimunya family, and we are with them in this sad period,” added Chibaya.
The boxing board, which is being run by the secretariat in the absence of a substantive executive, is set to open an inquiry into the incident.
“The process has not started as yet.
“We didn’t want to be driven by emotions. We wanted to give people time to mourn.
“We need the enquiry to be objective.
“So, there is need for consultations before we can sit down and start the inquiry,” said Lawrence Zimbudzana, secretary of the boxing board.
“Yesterday (Thursday) we accompanied the Majoni family to Dzivarasekwa where they paid homage to the Zimunya family. There was no issue at all, both families accept it was an accident.”
But those in the boxing fraternity have raised questions about the incident.
Former Commonwealth flyweight champion Arifonso Zvenyika feels the incident has left a huge dent on local boxing.
“I am afraid most parents might not allow their kids to take up boxing as a sport.
“Nonetheless, this happens in boxing. We have numerous cases of boxers who have died from injuries sustained in matches,” said Zvenyika.
According to a 2019 Cables News Network (CNN) report, about 13 boxers die from injuries sustained from the ring every year.
It is estimated that 1 604 boxers died as a direct result of injuries sustained in the ring between 1890 and 2011.
A 2009 American Medical Association report estimated that there was a fatality rate of 0,13 deaths per 1 000 participants per year.
The fatality rate is, however, lower than other high-risk sports like motor cycle racing, scuba diving, mountaineering, sky diving and horse racing.
“Whenever there is a death, people point fingers at each other, but I would like to say anything can happen in the sport of boxing,” said Zvenyika.
“I was touched by the death of such a young boxer who looked like he had a bright future ahead of him.
“Zimunya’s death could be an eye-opener for the local boxing fraternity, from managers, trainers, boxers and promoters.
“There is need for an all-stakeholder workshop, I think, one that will refresh the minds on the latest trends and rules of the game.”
He said the referee could have stopped the fight the moment it became clear Zimunya could not protect himself.
“The boxer’s corner should have also protected the boy by throwing in the towel. You see, when a boxer is in that ring, he is possessed with a spirit that pushes him to keep fighting even when he can’t go on.
“So, it is the corner which then should come in handy in such situations.
“What’s important though is to talk about the way forward.
“There is need to launch a fundraising campaign so that we can take care of Zimunya’s widow. The boxer left behind a young wife.”
Veteran promoter Stalin Mau Mau wants the authorities to expedite the inquiry into the incident.
“Firstly, it’s so sad to lose a life in any sport and there is always a cause.
“Someone or some people are to blame.
“Now that boxer Taurai Zimunya has been laid to rest, it’s imperative to do a post-mortem,” says Mau Mau.
He said the decision to allow the sport to be run without a board is causing a lot of chaos and confusion in boxing.
“The board’s secretariat is often reckless when it comes to sanctioning bouts and mismatches have been so prevalent, including those boxers who are sanctioned to fight out of the country. The Sunday disaster was a culmination of such recklessness.”
The referee, he added, could have done more to protect the ill-fated boxer.
“The Ministry (of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation) should establish a board of inquiry into this tragedy . . .” said Mau Mau.
Local trainer and match-maker Clyde Musonda said “the boxing fraternity need to also do an introspection of what we can do to prevent this from happening again.”
He indicated that the corner men and referees play an important role to protect boxers.