LAST week’s piece titled “Zambia Should Emulate Mugabe Gesture” in which a reader, who identified himself or herself as Boxing Lover, accused promoters of allegedly paying boxers “peanuts” after they win fights, has attracted a sharp reaction from Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions (OQBP).
To recap, Boxing Lover had said, in part, “… 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. Where are the companies to put up billboards for her at every round about? Mr Chishimba Kambwili the current Minister of Sport is dishing out money only to footballers and motor rally drivers. What’s happening?”
In an e-mail statement to me, Oriental Quarries operations director Chris Malunga said: “First of all, I would like to thank all the sponsors, fans and our hard working boxing board (the Zambia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board).
“OQBP has seven amateur boxers all of whom we manage and we have made sure that these boxers are taken to school.”
He said the boxing stable had 10 professional boxers and “I have made sure that the OQBP educates them and a good example is Catherine Phiri who we made sure that she goes back to school.
For her to pass the grade nine (examinations), it was because of the motivation she received from our company Oriental Quarries and the minister of sports and the boxing board.”
Malunga states that when OQBP boxers reach the end of their careers “we employ them, and Moses Musonda and Mable Mulenga are (examples of those) employed at our company.” He said contrary to what Boxing Lover claimed on purse money, “Zambia is number two to South Africa in paying good purse money to the boxers.”
On fight budgets, Malunga said the company was “careful” to strike a balance between paying the boxers well and encouraging sponsors to come on board and notes that for the recent WBC title fights, out of the K753,000 budget, more than half of it was in kind and not cash.
On gate takings OQBP got about 13 per cent which, essentially, meant that “we are just fulfilling our social mandate as a company to give back to community. It’s not easy to promote a fight like WBC and other titles; it’s very costly.
Ask Exodus Boxing Promotions who worked hard to promote boxing in this country, ask Mwenya Musenga Boxing Promotions, ask Samson Boxing Promotions ask Amagents Rico, ask Aupie Boxing Promotions, our God father in boxing, they will tell you.”
Malunga, however, agreed with Boxing Lover on putting up bill boards because “that’s where the boxer (Catherine) can get extra income.”
Malunga said the ZPBWCB was working with the ministry of sport to see to it that both boxers (Catherine and Charles Manyuchi) present the belts to the Zambian government.
“Our minister of sport was out of the country and I think he is back now, our boxing board is on top of things, better things are yet to come.”
Malunga said “we respect your comments because they are very educative. We have worked very well with our sponsors, fans, boxing board, media, and our government.
The sponsorship we are getting is because our partners have seen that we are sponsoring our boxers with education, the best thing you can give to the child is the best education not money.”
He added that OQBP did not belong to him (Malunga) or trainer Mike ‘Weaver’ Zulu or his assistant Greetings Kaonga because they were all employed by Oriental Quarries to promote boxing in Zambia together with “you the fans.”
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