THIS week I congratulate Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions (OQBP) for their huge success in Harare, Zimbabwe, last week where they produced another World Boxing Council (WBC) female bronze welterweight champion Lorita Muzeya on the undercard of the main event- the WBC silver welterweight title which saw Charles Manyuchi also retain his title.
Muziya knocked out Malawi’s Agness Mutimaukanena in two rounds while Manyuchi needed only two minutes and 47 seconds to stop Colombian challenger Jose Agusto Feria to keep his WBC silver strap.
With these wins, OQBP now have a combined total of five WBC titles, seven African Boxing Union titles (ABU) and one World Professional Boxing Federation (WPBF) titles held by their charges and two former protégées.
The breakdown of the world championship belt holders looks like this: Catherine Phiri and Manyuchi have two each (WBC female gold and silver bantamweight) and (WBC silver and International welterweight) respectively and now Muziya with one.
Catherine beat Yazmin Rivas in Mexico to win the gold and German Pia Mazelanik for the silver.
The continental titles are held by Joseph “No Pressure” Chingangu who under the care of OQBP won the ABU heavyweight by beating Paakwesi Ankra in 2008 and defended it against Osborne Machimane of South Africa.
Charles Chisamba, another former pupil of OQBP became ABU light heavyweight champion after knocking out Tanzania’s Mbaruku Kheri in 2009.
Chisamba would probably have become the first boxer under the stable to become a WBC International champion when he was given a chance to challenege for the title but he lost to Doudou Ngumbu.
He was the second Zambian to have a go at a WBC title after the late legend Lottie “Gunduzani” Mwale whose bid in the 80s was equally unsuccessful when he faced off against the late American Matthew Franklin who was better known as Saad Muhammad.
Mbiya Nkanku is another ABU superwelterweight champion, a title he won after knocking out Malawi’s Limbani Masamba in his backyard in Malawi.
The turning point for the stable was when they went to the grassroots and launched an amateur boxing club which attracted Catherine from Evergreen Stables, Alfred “Akulu” Muwowo, Emmanuel Ngoma, Barbara Banda and Shadreck Banda among others.
How do you measure the success of a boxing stable? In my view, and I hope some will agree with me, the answer lies in winning titles or producing champions locally, continentally and internationally.
Given the financial challenges that many stables face, it is difficult enough to keep boxers active throughout the year and challenge for local, continental and much less international belts.
But with what I would call a stroke of luck, fairly good corporate support and good organizational skills, OQBP appear to have overcome these challenges and have largely kept their charges busy by staging a tournament or two each year.
Surely, it is not by accident that they are now getting returns on their investment in the sport. But the picture that comes out is that the stable manager Chris Malunga and coach Mike “Weaver” Zulu have made a deadly combination in identifying and nurturing talent which is producing admirable results.
If you ask me, producing a champion locally or continentally is not as easy as blinking and it’s even harder to make a world champion. But OQBP have made making champions as if it was a walk in the park. In fact, you could say they have elevated this difficult task into an art form.
Malunga told me this week that the stable would in the foreseeable future be exploring possibilities of giving Muwowo a tilt at a continental title. I have no doubt in my mind that Muwowo won’t waste the opportunity when it comes and will surely add himself to OQBP growing list of champions.