Scores of boxing fans are expected to pay their last respects to Nginjale ‘Young Tough Ben’ Chitenje, a tough talking former pugilist who died on Thursday.
The boxer’s remains are expected to be buried today in Bangwe Township, Blantyre.
Reacting to Nginjale’s death, veteran boxer Philemon ‘Panel Beater’ Nkhakamila Banda said he was saddened by the demise of his rival in the ring and friend outside it.
Nkhakamila, whose duels with Nginjale used to draw crowds, said the country must honour Nginjale for spearheading boxing revival through his colourful post-match interviews.
“Make no mistake about it, in early 2000s, boxing was on its death-bed, and the man who resurrected the sport is Nginjale. His tough talking in interviews coaxed fans to bouts. Our fights eventually brought back fans to boxing,” he said.
Nkhakamila said his rival was a good boxer but he lacked a strong chin and endurance.
“I would be lying if I say he wasn’t a good boxer. He was good and could take the fight to his opponent. His only problem was lack of endurance and strong chin. He could give up a fight before taking in enough jabs.
“He could give up on fights even when he was leading on points. Some of us still made it because we could take in the jabs. Nginjale could leave the ring without either a swollen face or a cut,” Nkhakamila said.
Nkhakamila and Nginjale fought four times and the former won all through knockouts.
Another top boxer, Wilson Masamba, shared similar sentiments, saying Nginjale’s ability to grant colourful interviews with the media cannot be matched.
“There is no other boxer who can talk, intimidate opponents and woo spectators to fights. During his time, boxing used to draw a lot of spectators even when Super League teams were playing nearby. I turned professional when boxing revolution had just started. Together with the two [Nginjale and Nkhakamila], we revived boxing,” Masamba said.
Masamba recorded three wins, including two knockouts, in three fights against Nginjale.
Nginjale fought over 20 fights but unfortunately boxrec. com only recognises seven fights which he won twice and lost five times.
This could be attributed to the failure by local boxing authorities to send results to the authoritative boxing website.
The late Nginjale, 36, is survived by four children and hails from Chingwembele Village, T/A Chikumbu Mulanje..
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