TWO readers of this column sent me text messages a few weeks ago, but I could not respond to them immediately due to the prominence of the recent double header World Boxing Council (WBC) double-header title fights which produced Catherine Phiri and Charles Manyuchi as the silver bantamweight and international welterweight champions.
The first letter reads in part: “Hullo, boxing promoter. How are you this Saturday morning? Well, I’m a keen lover of boxing in this country. But I am shocked to see that these boxers are paid peanuts after victory.
“Most of the money goes to criminals who do not know anything about boxing. Why, look at Catherine. Her punches are (better) than those of Esther’s. I don’t think there’s a female boxer who can defeat Catherine in Africa and Asia.
“Her jabs to the jaws of an opponent are just fantastic. Where are the companies to put up billboards for her at every round about? Mr Chishimba Kambwili the current minister of youth and sport is dishing out money only to footballers and motor rally drivers. What’s happening?
“Please build a house each for Manyuchi and Galagata. When Mwanawasa built (bought) a house for Esther she became beautiful and rich people grabbed her for a wife. Please tell ZNBC camera crew to start showing nice pictures and not shadows or silhouettes. Boxing lover.”
In reaction to this letter, I couldn’t suppress a big laugh because of the seemingly jumbled up ideas. I intend to correct some of the misconceptions and misperceptions in it. First, I want to inform the fan that I am not a boxing promoter. I am merely a boxing columnist with this newspaper. The only ‘claim’ I can lay to being a promoter is now being board secretary of the Zambia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board, which, incidentally regulates professional boxing in Zambia.
Reader, if you have followed what Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions have done for Catherine so far, I think boxing lover must be talking about other promoters because from where I stand, I know Oriental have the best interests for their protégée as seen by the massive investment in her education which will secure her future after her life in the ring is over.
This is to say nothing of getting her chances to win three major titles, African Boxing Union, the Women International Boxing Federation and her recent crowning as WBC silver bantamweight champion in a career defining development.
I thought boxing lover would be talking about building or buying Catherine a house, which Kambwili is working on, but to suggest that government should buy Galagata a house doesn’t make any sense to me because I can’t see the rationale or justification for it.
The second letter is from Phil Mbewe who reflects on the mainstream media story on Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe wanting to meet Oriental Quarries management and their two champions Manyuchi and Catherine in Harare any time soon.
Mbewe writes: “…Mugabe has seen the need to praise the boxers who won victories last weekend. One young boxer, a female, will sit next to the president not only to eat with him, but also to be showered with messages of congratulations for a job well done in the ring. Charles Manyuchi might even be given the honour he has never seen in his life.
“Who knows the president might even cut a cheque for each one of them? But where is such an honour here in Zambia for these two boxers? Let’s not sleep here. If Catherine goes to Zimbabwe, she will be given a boyfriend and she will be declared a Zimbabwean. This does not mean she should not go there.
“Our own president Mr Michael Chilufya Sata should throw a meal for the two boxers before they fly to Zimbabwe,” Mbewe added.
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