Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
LOCAL boxing clubs have not done enough to lure financial investment in promoting the professional version of the game, in what Lobengula Boxing Club coach, Anderson Sibanda, blames on administrators as well as coaches who are shying away from the corporate sector.
The last time Bulawayo hosted a professional boxing event was in 2012, a feat that somehow is not expected for a city that was once a boxing hub. There remains a painful nostalgia for many who used to enjoy boxers trading leather in popular venues such as Manor Hotel, Reynolds Inn and the Bulawayo Polytechnic. These were the go to places for any boxing enthusiast, with some coming outside the city. At the time, boxing stables were serious about promoting the game, with Rampage Ring Promotions and Blow by Blow being so consistent in organising fights.
Promoters Stalin Mau Mau and the late Jeff Dube are singled out having sponsored fights even at a time when the sport was on the wane. The late Proud “Kilimanjaro” Chinembiri, Langton “Schoolboy” Tinago, Donga, Ambrose Mlilo and Alfonso Zvenyika are some of the boxers who flew the country’s flag high in the past. However, as the country’s economy hit a downturn in 2000, boxing was also heavily affected financially.
There has been no sponsorship since and few professional fighters found their way in the ring. High riding clubs in the high density suburbs felt the pinch. For Sibanda and his crew at Lobengula Boxing Club, they yearn for the return of the past has been long.
He said it was time that administrators pull their socks and approach benefactors. “The problem we have in Bulawayo is that since Thamsanqa Dube left the ring, clubs and coaches have failed to produce enough boxers or even to look for sponsors,” said Sibanda.
“We also have to look at ourselves and ask if really we are doing enough for the sport in the city. We are not doing enough to attract sponsors that will bring professional boxing fights to the city. Coaches also are not producing enough boxers. “We need to go out there and look for sponsors such that those people in Harare can come to this side and have professional fights. This will help us have more professional boxers in Bulawayo.”- @innocentskizoe