By SHAMAOMA MUSONDA –
THE Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) has backed Zambia’s Catherine Phiri to beat Pia Mazelani of Germany and grab the World Boxing Council (WBC) international women bantamweight title.
Catherine takes on Mazelani on March 15 at the Government Complex in Lusaka on a day that will also see Charles Manyuchi square it out against Patrick Allotey of Ghana for the welterweight inter-continental belt.
Despite the fight being hosted under the rival’s sanctioning body-the WBC, WIBA, through its chief executive officer (CEO) Ryan Wissow said Catherine was a clear favourite to win the fight and the title.
Wissow, who has openly stated WIBA’s willingness to hand Catherine a world title fight, said the future for the Zambian budding star was bright looking at her skill and her fast improving professional boxing record.
He said he was more interested in Catherine’s progress and success rather than giving her a lot of unnecessary fights too early.
“I’m happy to hear Catherine will fight Pia Mazelani. Catherine should beat Pia with little trouble. Even though we at WIBA aren’t involved with Catherine, I want to see her succeed and not be overmatched,” he said.
Wissow did not hide his discomfort about Catherine’s earlier opponent, Nadia Hokmi of France whom he described as a strong boxer who would have given the Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions (OQBP) boxer a lot of problems in the ring.
He said he had a lot of faith in Catherine but he would rather allow Catherine grow in the sport before she is handed boxers like Hokmi, who backed out of the fight to concentrate on a World Boxing Federation (WBF) belt she holds.
Wissow said Hokmi would have come a bit too early for Catherine adding that while Natalie Forget remained Catherine’s toughest opponent to date, Hokmi was better than the Canadian Forget.
Catherine defeated Forget on points after tough rounds to win the World International Boxing Federation (WIBF) bantamweight title at Government Complex in Lusaka, the belt she still holds.
Hokmi has won 20 of her 27 fights with nine of them coming by way of knock out while six have been defeats and one draw as compared to the German, who has won 13 of 19 fights having lost five and drawn one.
“I feel much better about this opponent (Mazelani) than Hokmi. I am not underestimating Catherine but I just thought Hokmi was too much of a risk so early in her budding career. But I thank God Catherine has another chance for a top flight bought as she gains the needed experience,” he said.