The just ended year, left boxers and boxing fans with a lot of scars following series of heartbreaking defeats during away international fights.
It became obvious that once a Malawian boxer travelled to Namibia, the boxer ended on the losing end.
Experienced boxer Wilson Masamba’s performance against a Namibian boxer summed up how grueling it was to fight in Namibia.
Masamba only lasted 47 seconds in a non-title contest that was scheduled to last four rounds.
The likes of Charles Misanjo, Felix Mwamaso, Aubrey Masamba, Salimu Chazama and Moses Mahilasi suffered humiliating and embarrassing defeats in Namibia.
The only boxers that came with positive results were Chrispin Moliyati (a draw) and Alick Gogodo managed to knockout a Tanzanian boxer in the second round.
But it was Limbani Masamba who stole the limelight when he recorded a rare third round knockout against Namibian Alfeus Shilongo.
The Blantyre-based boxer, is considered to be among the hardest punching knockout boxers in Malawi’s super welterweight division, with his strong jab, straight right hand and left hook being his best weapons.
It was a timely feat that proved that Namibian boxers were not invincible.
Yet Limbani, despite impressing during his early life in professional boxing, was two years ago regarded as a spent force following a slump in form.
After frustrations in amateur division, Limbani turned professional in 2012 under the auspices of Ayaya City Stable, a subsidiary of Namisonga Boxing Promotions.
“Of course I was going through difficult situations at amateur division and that time I wasn’t ready to join professional boxing.
However, Mr. Charles Nkhoma coaxed me to turn professional under the support of Ayaya City Stable,” said Limbani as he started a journey following the footsteps which his elder brothers John and Wilson had set.
On his debut, Limbani knocked out Bright Mdoka in the second round at Lilongwe Community Centre in 2012.
“I really thank the support I got from Ayaya City Stable. I was funded heavily while my brother John continuously honed my skills,” he said.
Backed by massive support, Limbani went on to win through knockouts against Malani Kayuni (twice), Marshali Ali, Charles Misanjo and Alick Mwenda.
Limbani then announced his return with his incredible form after lifting the welterweight belt when he snatched it from Misanjo with a seventh round knockout.
However, in early 2013 Limbani tested his first professional defeat when he was knocked out in the fourth round by a Congolese boxer Mbiya Nkanku in Zambia.
Few months later, Limbani’s relationship with his management team, soured after the stable disapproved his move to co-habit with his fiancée Elsei Zuze.
“My promoters felt it was too early to marry but I knew I was growing so I did not want to affect my development by indulging in bad things. As a way of controlling my emotions and feelings I decided to move in and stay with my love,” he said.
The development backfired as his performance also dwindled and he lost some bouts including defeats to Misanjo, Chimwemwe Chiotcha and Osgood Kayuni.
“It was a nightmare and I thought that my end had come. However, I got another opportunity when No Pain No Gain Boxing Promotions managing director Craig Rousseau offered me another rematch with Misanjo.
“That time I prepared well but I was cautious because I feared that Misanjo will win again. After the win Craig Rousseau has been supportive doing a lot of things for me to rediscover my form,” he said.
To announce his return to top form, Limbani won in Namibia and lifted the super welterweight title in a closely contested fight against Ernest Msoliza
“If it were not for support from No Pain No Gain Boxing Promotions I don’t know what would have happened to me. However, you must understand me that I am equally grateful to Ayaya for the support they gave me during my early days,” he said.
Limbani believes the current support will help him break new horizons. “It is my wish to win an international belt,” he said.
Limbani recalls his victories over Kayuni and Namibian boxer Alfeus Shilongo in the third round.
“When Kayuni beat my brother I promised to revenge on behalf of Wilson and I achieved the feat. If I had lost I would have been turned into a laughing stock. The second fight that counts most is when I knocked out Shilongo of Namibia,” he said.
Limbani is bitter at the manner he lost to Chiotcha and Nkanku.
“Against Chiotcha I was going through a bad spell but then his style was not as good as boxing he was fighting ugly. I lost to Mbiya because I was ill-prepared. The offer came too late as I replaced Kayuni whom I had defeated earlier. I accepted the offer because I wanted money otherwise I was not ready for the fight,” he said.
Limbani was born on 10th June 1990 and he hails from Sigerege Village, T/A Kuntaja in Blantyre. He is married and two children, Freedom and Joyful. His record stands at 14 wins and five defeats from 19 fights.
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