I TOOK time to watch some boxing action last Saturday at the Green Buffaloes Boxing Club in Woodlands following an open invitation I saw on one of interactive internet forums to which I belong.
I must admit that it was well worth my time. Staged by the Midlands Amateur Boxing Association ((MABA), its 23rd this year which attracted most if not all the major clubs in Lusaka, the tournament lived to the expectations of many a fan.
Participants were drawn from Youth Empowerment, Green Buffaloes, Oriental Quarries, Evergreen, Nkwazi, Zambia National Service and Youth Armoury boxing clubs.
A bonanza of 20 bouts was featured, four of which were female bouts. MABA secretary Christian Kalima informed me that the tournaments are held weekly and the idea is to keep the boxers busy to prevent “rust.”
Of the bouts I watched, a few particularly impressed me from a talent perspective.
Exodus’ charge Alice Mbewe, a bantamweight who faced off against Anita Machile from Evergreen, is a class act. In fact some fans were heard to say boxers of her calibre will be a sure replacement of Esther Phiri and Catherine Phiri when these icons leave the sport.
I couldn’t disagree.
Alice who won by unanimous points decision,(UD) has a good jab and movement and throws a variety of punches including a crazy upper cut which, however, she needs to improve upon as she tries to execute it.
Her speed is impressive as is her defence. Overall this is a boxer who has far to go if she observes discipline and listens to her handlers.
Simon Ngoma (Exodus) who beat Sylvester Sampa of ZNS via UD, also accounted well for himself.
Simon is good all-round as he throws deadly uppercuts, has excellent timing and lateral movement which confused his opponent who threw largely wild punches which rarely found the target.
Then there was Charles Lumbwe of Green Buffaloes who was pitted against stable mate Noah Mumba. Lumbwe won via UD against his crafty opponent who did an impressive “rendition” of the Muhammad Ali shuffle.
But it was Lumbwe who stood out with his smart moves, rapid combinations and overall ring generalship. His offense and defense was equally inspiring.
The third boxer is Kelvin Lugama from Youth Armoury who impressed me with his slipping of punches and movement. I did not watch all the bouts but I’m sure there may be more who showcased their talents and could be candidates for national team any time soon.
Generally, from what I saw the quality of the boxers is high.
However, a worrying trend I observed with most of the boxers if is, they concentrate on punching the head instead of unleashing a variety of punches.
A boxer should read a fight and if the opponent is good at covering up and you can’t get his head you go to the body so he can open up and when he does you go upstairs and so on and so forth.
I noticed, too, that the pattern of fighting reminded me of street fighting.
Boxing is a game of setting traps for your opponent and not just throwing punches anyhow hoping they will somehow find the target. Most of the boxers kept coming at each other ferociously, sometimes falling over as they swung wild blows with no clear strategy.
Anyway, these weekly tournaments are the way to keep the fighters active and fit.
Team selection should not be a hustle with an active pool of good fighters in reserve all the time. Kalima told me that MABA is planning to cast the net wider by establishing clubs in Chirundu and Chongwe to scout for more talent.
He said MABA would stage tournaments in these far flung areas to stimulate interest in the sport. The future of the sport lies in amateur boxing and one hopes that the weekly tournament will continue.
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