Celebrated Malawian World Boxing Council (WBC) light heavyweight champion Isaac â€˜Golden Boyâ€™ Chilemba failed to fulfil his wish of paying his last respects to departed former State president Bingu wa Mutharika due to his tight itinerary.
The revered boxer was forced to leave the country for his base South Africa on Friday.
He was scheduled to depart for the US last night to start preparations for a fight against a yet-to-be-identified opponent in June.
“I am sad that I had to depart without paying my last respects to the former State President because of my tight schedule.
“I had arranged to pay my last respects in Blantyre on Friday. Unfortunately, I had to leave the same day for Johannesburg due to my crammed itinerary.
“I feel sad because I also missed an opportunity to view the body at Parliament Building [in Lilongwe] on Tuesday. However, I will make arrangements to pay my last respects at his final resting place in Ndata in the near future,” said Chilemba from Johannesburg yesterday morning.
The â€˜Golden Boyâ€™ also said he hopes to remain in US until after his forthcoming fight in June.
“Unless there are some changes, my plans are that I will be in the US until June,” he said.
Last Wednesday Chilemba had an audience with President Joyce Banda at Mtunthama State Lodge in Lilongwe.
He described the meeting with the President as impromptu.
“I arrived [Tuesday] from South Africa to pay my last respects to the late President. But while here, I phoned the President to seek an audience with her and she readily agreed,” he said.
Chilemba described Mutharika as a nice man, saying he will live to cherish the moment he met him at New State House in Lilongwe in April last year.
“He was a good guy. When I met him, we discussed a wide range of issues pertaining to my career and boxing in general. I will live to cherish that moment,” recalled the boxer.
On his audience with President Banda, Chilemba said it was mainly about the state of boxing in the country and how the situation could be improved. He also said they discussed his career.
The boxer also disclosed that he has always been in touch with President Banda.
“I was always in touch with her when she was serving as Vice-President. Prior to every fight I had, she could call me and wish me well.
He also described Banda as a sports-oriented President.
“She shares our vision of taking boxing in the country to another level,” he said.
Chilemba also reiterated that he has no intention of renouncing his Malawian citizenship, stressing that he is proud to be Malawian.