AFTER a year of largely depressing news from the Zambia Boxing Federation (ZBF), 2016 is ending on a bright note with amateur flyweight Davies Mwale minting gold at the recently held African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region-Five Games in Angola.
You may recall that the ZBF was embroiled in a senseless quarrel after failing to forward part of the money (K12,000) it received from the Midlands Amateur Boxing Association (MABA) which triggered the Sports Council of Zambia (SCZ) to ban MABA from conducting its weekly tournaments though the ban has since been lifted.
There was also controversy about which coach should have travelled to Angola, but as it turned out, assistant Maybin Gunduzani got the nod in suspicious circumstances leaving his boss John Chibuta in the cold. This column has urged an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission into the matter.
And then there is the issue of an elective annual general meeting to usher in new leadership after ZBF president Thomas Chileshe’s term expired in February. Chileshe insists the AGM be held next year while former president Bright Chomba is calling for the AGM before the end of this year.
Zambia sent lone representative welterweight Ben Muziyo to this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil and, as expected, he came a cropper coming back to Zambia the way he went-without a medal, which is what we expected from a boxer who told the media he aimed to reach the semis (and not the final). For aiming low, he didn’t even go past the preliminaries.
To achieve his feat, Mwale beat Botswana’s Mtefo Maitwena on a unanimous points decision (UD). There was more good news with bantamweight Everisto Mulenga minting a silver medal after losing to South Africa’s Ricardo Matajika via a UD. In all, the boxers brought four medals, one gold, one silver and two bronze.
May I use this space to congratulate Mwale and his sponsors Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions who yet again have a future champion in the making and the rest of the boxers for a commendable performance. Coach Chibuta who drilled the boxers for a long time must also be commended despite his sidelining. Grudging credit must, however, also go to Gunduzani since he was ringside to guide the boxers.
So what can we make of the success in Angola? I believe that if a new leadership is voted into office next year with a clear vision, a leadership devoid of petty squabbles there could be revolutionary changes in ZBF. That would translate into more successes.
Meanwhile, the heavyweight division looks to get more interesting next year with major bouts on the cards. Unbeaten IBF champion Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) destroyed Eric “The Drummer Boy” Molina (25-4, 19 KOs) in three rounds this past week at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, UK.
After the fight was over, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Match room Sport officially announced that his fighter will face former belt holder Wladimir Klitschko, on April 29, 2016 at Wembley in London.
Klitschko has been out of the ring since November 2015, when he lost an upset decision to Tyson Fury. The rematch never happened after Fury withdrew twice, and then had a mental breakdown and vacated his titles.
Joshua captured the IBF title in April with a blowout of champion Charles Martin. He returned a few months later to make his first defense with a seventh round TKO of previously undefeated Olympian Dominic Breazeale.