WHEN a youngster decides to be a boxer it’s rare that he or she wants to remain a rookie for life.
Ordinarily, boxers start from the amateur ranks and if they excel turn professional.
That is the norm, except in Cuba where amateur boxers are denied by decree the chance to become professionals for reasons best known to the authorities.
Here in Zambia, boxers are free to graduate from amateur to professional if they individually or as a team with the approval of their trainers and promoters believe it would be in their collective interest for their boxer(s) to upgrade.
Of course, it’s not mandatory for any amateur however good they may be in the ring, to turn pro.
One boxer who has defied calls from various stakeholders to turn pro in Zambia is Ben Muziyo.
Muziyo is a Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and ranks with other medal winners such legend Lottie Mwale who collected a gold medal as a light middleweight at the 1974 Games in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The biggest medal haul by Zambia at amateur level was from the 1978 Edmonton Games where John Sichula and Francis Musankabala won silver each as did Teddy Makofi and Enock Chama with bronze each. Lucky Mutale reached the last eight.
There was also pretty good news from amateur boxing during the Zone Six Games in 2012 where the Zambian squad of seven reaped six medals– three gold, two silver and bronze under the tutelage of Kennedy Kanyanta.
This past week one of Zambia’s most promising talents lightweight Simon Ngoma from Anthony Mwamba’s Exodus Boxing Stables turned pro and is billed to make his debut as a super featherweight against little-known Joseph Chewe at an international tournament in Lusaka on November 18, 2017.
And his amateur record is something to be proud of; 120 victories from 128 bouts or 94 per cent success rate. At a press briefing to announce the big news, Ngoma set his bar very high.
He said he would work extremely hard to surpass his mentor Kanyanta, himself a gold medallist at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester England and bronze medallist at the 2007 All Africa Games.
Ngoma’s approach to his turning the corner is what all fighters with a vision believe in. First, they chose boxing as their preferred sport, then fought at amateur level and then entered the money spinning professional ranks.
If he performs to expectations, Ngoma should within the next couple of years be a champion locally, regionally and hopefully at the penultimate world level.
This sounds so easy on paper, but I‘m sure that if he can be kept busy with at least two fights a year, the path to these titles will have been paved. The decision Ngoma has made is a wise and commendable one.
Meanwhile, it was also good news to hear that Cambridgeshire Police Boxing Club of the UK donated boxing kit to Exodus Boxing Academy.
Thanking the club for their “generous donation” Mwamba correctly observed that this would help improve the boxers‘safety and motivate them for higher performances.
What this proves is that promoters should learn to embrace the global village concept in which the world has become smaller. In other words, promoters should strive to build inter-linkages, connections and contacts outside their immediate vicinity or the diaspora like Exodus have done working closely with Bwalya Mwali, who is based in Belgium.
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