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Eyebrows over boxers’ selection

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Some key stakeholders in domestic boxing circles have ignited a debate that questions how promoters select boxers to take part in international fights.

Since Malawi started sending boxers to Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia last year, their performance on the road has been pathetic.

Few local boxers have managed to last all the rounds, with many either retiring in early rounds or getting knocked out miserably.

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Worse still, in some instances, the referees stop some contests to save local boxers from further punishment.

Surprisingly, major stakeholders deliberately seem not to care about how boxers are selected to take part in title and non-title fights across the borders.

Sadly, local boxers have donated their hard-earned reputation and records not in search of glory, but money.

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New Dawn Boxing Promotions Managing Director, Mike Chimaliza, said the performance of the boxers outside the country, especially in Namibia, has been very discouraging.

“On the issue of selection, I think it has not been done well. I should believe that this has also contributed heavily. You can see that the only boxers, who have performed comparatively better, are those that have been also better on the local scene and with good experience for example Salimu Chazama, Crispin Moliyati and Limbani Masamba,” he said.

Chimaliza said questions were being asked on why boxers such as Moses Mahilasi, Charles Misanjo, Felix Mwamaso and Raston Kayira were selected for fights in Namibia.

“These are not good boxers locally and some of them like Kayira have not fought enough at the professional level. In general, our boxers are not at the level of fighting Namibian boxers, whose professionalism is very high,” he said.

The New Dawn Boxing Promotions owner said the choice of inexperienced and poor performing boxers is not the right way even though they get better perks.

“The record of Namibian boxers improves immensely while our level is not going anywhere. Let us not put money first, but improve standards by attracting sponsors to invest in sports, improve standards and professional running of the game,” Chimaliza explained.

“Otherwise, the standards will remain the same. These old boxers will not care if they lose in Namibia as long as they get money. And no one knows who also benefits and how much. This should not be the primary motive.”

Mulanje Last Boxing Promotions Managing Director, Mike Chitenje, shared similar remarks, and suggested measures to bar underperforming boxers from taking part in international fights.

“The first thing to improve professional boxing is for the board itself to improve its operations,” he said.

Chitenje said the board must first improve infrastructure such as professional ring, train coaches, enforce standards for promoters and managers, and scrutinise the capacity of promoters.

“And the board should check records of opponents for international boxers. In Namibia, another problem is that our inexperienced boxers are deliberately paired against experienced boxers. The board should strictly check this,” he said.

“The board should work together with promoters and managers to spearhead sponsorship identification and enforcing standards. Currently, they work in isolation and always blame managers and promoters.”

Malawi Professional Boxing Control Board (MPBCB) President, Lonzoe Zimba, admitted that there was need to change several things for the sport to develop.

“This is why we made a bid to organise the World Boxing Council convention to drill promoters. Once the seminar is done, we will be able to put in place measures to stop unfit and inexperienced boxers from taking part in international fights,” Zimba said.

He said at times, they were unable to stop boxers from travelling because some promoters plead with the board to clear the pugilists to avoid contractual disputes.

Recently, No Pain No Gain Boxing Promotions, Managing Director, Craig Rousseau, whose stable has sent many boxers to other countries, especially Namibia, said it was important for local boxers to gain exposure.

“You have to beat the best in order to be the best. We will continue sending boxers to Namibia until we get it right. We need massive support from the corporate world to invest in the sport,” he said.

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