If there is a record Malawi boxing has, then it has to be controversies that surround the aftermath of most bouts.
Almost every fight ends in dispute with the loser refusing to accept results.
If it is not blaming the referee for incompetence, then the blame is directed at judges for unfair results. Or else, it is about complaints against poor set-up of rings and the general organisation of fights.
In Malawi, officials combine roles where one can serve as a judge, a referee while at the same time being a promoter and an executive member of a boxing committee which is unacceptable professionally.
International Boxing Federation African (IBFA) representative Onesim Ngowi said he was surprised that Malawian officials are doubling roles which he said compromises objectivity and professionalism which is against statutes such as Mohammed Ali’s amendment.
The Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act is a federal law enacted in the United States that provides for various legal protections to boxers as well as helping States in regulating boxing as a sport to ensure there are none of the abuses.
“Ring officials i.e. referee can also become judges, but you cannot be a ring official and at the same time a promoter, manager, matchmaker etc!
“In countries such as Malawi, there are some characters that have made themselves as know-it-all by assuming all positions in boxing. That is why most boxers from that region don’t attract interest from other countries across the continent and beyond where the game is advanced simply because things are not done professionally,” said Ngowi.
Malawi Boxing Association (Maba) vice-president Henry Sakala accepted the anomaly, but blamed it on lack of resources.
“We have very few qualified people who were trained once eight years ago by an American Careen Williamson with sponsorship from the Olympic solidarity.
“Only 18 people were trained and that is why they are forced to rotate duties, but I would agree that the local situation is really not acceptable. The challenge is that we fail to raise funds to train more people to ensure specialisation,” said Sakala.
National Professional Boxing Committee (NPBC) chairperson Lonzoe Zimba, whose body was detached from Maba last month, blamed it on Maba for negligence as the sport’s overall governing body.
“Despite having a few people that are trained in different fields, laws should have been followed to ensure we remain professional. Maba gets funding from government, do they mean to say they cannot not spare a little for such small courses?
“The good thing is that we have moved out of their arms and we will be dealing with international boxing bodies directly and already we have asked the WBF [World Boxing Federation] and IBF [International Boxing Federation] for funding to cater for such training,” said Zimba.