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Two local boxers denied clearance

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By Mphatso Malidadi

Malawi Defence Force has stopped its two boxers, Salimu Chazama and Ruth Chisale, from taking part in international non-title fights in Tanzania on safety grounds. Chazama was expected to face Francis Miyeyusho in an eight round contest, with Chisale taking on Happy Daudi in a six round fight at New Vijana Social Hall in Dar-es-salaam on August 29.

MDF spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Paul Chiphwanya said they did not release the pair as the ban on sporting events due to Covid-19 was still valid.

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“We can’t compromise on rules. We have to respect the decision which was made. Currently, the ban on sporting events, whether local or international, is still effective as such we can’t contravene it,” he said.

Chiphwanya said MDF was not being harsh on its boxers, saying the risk of Coronavirus should not be overlooked.

“The sporting ban came into effect to protect citizens from the pandemic so we shouldn’t act otherwise to endanger innocent people,” he said.

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Both boxers declined to comment but said they respected the decision. Matchmaker Steve ‘Mawenzi’ Msiska, who identified the two to fight in Tanzania, also respected MDF’s decision.

“I respect MDF’s decision as in every institution, law and order has to be respected and followed. The health and welfare of the boxer is important to protect and consider,” he said.

Msiska doubted if he will get replacements for the pair, citing time as being too short. The ban comes after Malawi Professional Boxing Board (MPBCB) recently courted controversy for clearing boxer Yamikani Mkandawire to fight in Tanzania.

MPBCB president Lonzoe ‘Defector’ Zimba said they were clearing boxers to take up international fights on conditions.

“We softened up a bit because we had to consider the plight of boxers who earn their living through the ring. We are also releasing boxers to countries where sporting events have returned. We also work jointly with the promoters to ensure the safety of our boxers. The promoters furnish us with safety details being observed,” he said.

Meanwhile, MPBCB has cleared boxer Israel Kam’mwamba to vie for Universal Boxing Organisation 10-round title fight against Tanzanian boxer Mtango Salimu.

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