By SHAMAOMA MUSONDA –
NEXT month’s World Boxing Council (WBC) double bill promotion has received a major boost of K290,000 sponsorship from Taj Pamodzi Hotel and Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), leaving a shortfall of just K143,000.
The sponsorship is both in form of cash and in kind with Pamodzi Hotel weighing in with K150,000 while ZNBC, who will also broadcast the March 15 bouts live on national television, pumped in K140,000.
Sanjay Sood, the Pamodzi Hotel managing director, said the sponsorship was his company’s way of helping sport and got attracted to the success being scored by Zambian boxing heroine, Catherine Phiri.
“We have been involved in sports for a long time. The Chipolopolo coach (Patrice Beaumelle) has been staying with us and so does the FAZ president (Kalusha Bwalya) and we thought we should help boxing also. Even Catherine’s opponent Pia (Mazelanik) and her team will be staying with us when they are in the country for the title fight,” he said.
ZNBC director sales (Special Projects), Peter Shula said that the national broadcaster had equally split the K140,000 into cash and advertising for the organising committee.
“We are coming in to sponsor the bout because we believe our role is to stimulate the growth of sport in the country. So we would like to urge companies to place adverts during the bouts and reach an audience of six million Zambians,” Shula said.
Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotion (OQBP) operations director, Chris Malunga said the coming on board of the two companies had further reduced the stress on the tournament organisers.
Malunga said he was confident they would meet the K753,000 budget before the staging of the event next month.
He said now, there was just K143,000 left to meet the budget and called on other corporate institutions to join in and ensure the tournament to be held at Government Complex in Lusaka was a success.
“We would like to thank ZNBC and Pamodzi Hotel for this sponsorship. This will go a long way in making this promotion a huge success. This now leaves us with a shortfall of K143,000 and the one month left, we are sure we will make it. I can also assure the sponsors that this money they have given us will be used for nothing more than boxing,” he said.
The two title bouts will see Catherine first fight German Pia Mazelanik for the WBC Silver women’s bantamweight belt while Zimbabwe’s Charles Manyuchi will fight against Ghanaian Patrick Allotey for the WBC welterweight intercontinental title.
Both Catherine and Manyuchi are Africa Boxing Union (ABU) champions in the respective weight categories.
Apart from the two WBC title bouts, there will be three undercard fights.