S/Korean boxer Scuttles prospects to stardom
Published On September 27, 2014 » 2366 Views» By Davies M.M Chanda » Columns, Sports
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RINGTALKWHEN I heard this past week that the World Boxing Council (WBC) had found a replacement opponent in South Africa’s female bantamweight champion Bukiwe Nonina to face Catherine Phiri for the WBC silver title instead of South Korean Hee-Jung Yuh, I felt sorry for the Korean.
According to media reports, Hee-Jung and her advisers did not think it prudent to risk the Korean boxer’s life by sending her to fight in Africa which was in the throes of a serious Ebola epidemic that has killed thousands in West Africa-particularly in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal.
At this writing, which was long after Hee-Jung-Catherine fight arrangements were made, there was no reported case of Ebola in Zambia. However, it was reported that there was an Ebola threat at Kitwe’s Garneton Clinic as the district recorded the first suspected case of the disease. A 25 year-old woman was quarantined first at Kitwe Central Hospital before she was later moved to an isolation centre in Gerneton township. Luckily, tests conducted to establish the existence of the disease were negative.
I found the reason for Hee-Jung’s pull out from the title fight less than flimsy. I also couldn’t understand why or how the WBC would not convince the boxer and her handlers that Zambia was, at this stage and presumably by fight time, a safe zone as far as Ebola goes.
To assume that because there’s Ebola in West Africa then going to Zambia posed a risk is a truly misguided shame. I had a hunch that the Korean boxer may have seen a video clip of Catherine in action and was probably scared of those jabs and combinations the Zambian throws in bunches. Maybe I’m reading too much into the text, but do you really think the Korean boxer would pass up a chance for a world title just like that?
Anyway, Ebola or no, what the Korean boxer has done by refusing to do the fight in Zambia is shooting herself in the foot. I’m saying this because I doubt if WBC will give her another chance like this any time soon.
A little background information will do here. The first country to promote a WBC international championship was Thailand on December 10, 1986 when Mexican Raul Valdez stopped in four rounds Rocky Chitalada to win the bantamweight belt in Bangkok.
Since then, the WBC has set out to many lands, including Zambia (1990, Lottie-Ray Acquay) and staged wonderful fights. Several questions arise. What benefits have the WBC international championships brought to the world and how has it helped boxing?
How have fighters who are the leaders of the sport benefitted? The WBC international championships have been a boon to boxing because they have helped spot new talents, brought out new fighters who would never have seen the light of day for years if not for this great talent spotting championship.
According to Mario Betti, chairperson of the WBC international championships committee, these championships “have been a great stepping stone for many boxers to reach stardom.” Besides, the innovative activity has helped create great champions.
The championships have helped promoters and managers all over the world by guiding them in the right direction and placed them on the platform of progress. The championships have showcased rising stars who, under normal circumstances, would have been hidden for years “without any opportunity to forge ahead.”
The events have helped the growth of several fighters who were denied in the past of excelling in boxing and have been forced to remain hidden due to a lack of opportunities.
Against this backdrop, will it be unfair to suggest that Hee-Jung has denied herself the chance to surface to the top by the mere act of turning down a fight on a frivolous and preposterous reason?. I don’t know if and when the WBC will knock her door again, but it can’t be any time soon, I guess.
Comments: mwale.simon@yahoo.co.uk 0966 755574/0953744074

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