Retired boxers Kashitigu Ndoro and Tough Ben Chitenje’s return to the ring after decades on the sidelines ended in laughter after referee, Mbachichi Nyirenda, disqualified the veterans for failure to put on gum shields.
It was clearly staged as the old timers left the fans in stitches at Robins Park in Blantyre on Saturday. Bouncers stepped onto the ring to stop the pair from exchanging blows in what was meant to be a heavyweight contest.
Earlier, Chitenje blew his own trumpet after rumours spread that Kashitungu had dodged the fight, but when the challenger arrived, the atmosphere changed.
Both boxers entered the ring majestically led by their corner-men, much to the amusement of fans. Their huge bellies were a source of jokes from supporters.
However, when the bell signaling the start of the first round, Nyirenda stopped the pair and asked them to show if they had put on gum shield- -none of the boxers had, forcing the referee to disqualify the pair.
Both veterans were applauded for their stunt as they left the ring.
Ndoro, 75, who retired in the 1970s, said he was upset.
“I have wasted my time during training. My cornerman should have reminded me that I was supposed to put on a gum shield,” he said.
In reaction, Chitenje, 72, who was nicknamed Tough Ben Chitenje after losing to King Jetu on points, said even without a gum shield he was prepared for battle.
“I could have beaten him clean. I don’t need a gum shield because I am made of steel,” he said.
New Dawn Boxing Promotions’ Mike Chimaliza, who travelled from Lilongwe to watch the bill, said the involvement of the pair livened up the atmosphere.
“I think we need to get these senior figures to help teach up-and-coming boxers how to address the media to help market the sport,” he said.
In other supporting fights, Tinkhani Kamanga drew with Yamikani Mkandawire in a lightweight six-round non-title contest whereas Ellen Simwaka, of No Pain No Gain Boxing Promotions, defeated Zimbabwean, Diana Makumbe, on a technical knockout in the third round of a bantamweight non-title fight.
However, Simwaka was heavier as she failed to make the weight grade during the official weigh-in at Lika Fitness Centre on Friday. She was two kilogrammes above the recommended 54 kilogrammes.
Aubrey Masamba stopped Gideon Kankhwani in the first round of their bantamweight non-title fight.
Israel Kam’mwamba, also of No Pain No Gain Boxing Promotions, defeated Raston Kayira on unanimous points.
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