Blantyre City has oddly gone almost six months without hosting a professional boxing bout while Lilongwe and Mzuzu have hosted six and three fights, respectively, Nation on Sunday has established.
The last boxing event in Blantyre was the non-title bout between John Masamba and Boniface Stenala at Motel Paradise in July 2013.
This is unlike in 2012 when the commercial city hosted at least two bouts every month.
However, stakeholders in boxing have mixed reactions to the development.
According to Malawi Professional Boxing Control Board (MPBCB) president Lonzoe Zimba, this might have happened due to the strict professional boxing rules enforced following the delinking of MPBCB from the Malawi Boxing Association (Maba) last June.
He said probably boxing promoters in Blantyre are restrained by the enforcement of the rule that requires them to pay the boxers before they get into the ring.
“Previously, this rule was ignored because there was no difference between amateur and professional boxing rules. This resulted in most promoters organising frequent bouts with the hope of making money at the gates to share with the boxers,” said Zimba.
However, Maba general secretary Arthur Nanthuru said the issue was not about delinking the two bodies, but Blantyre boxing bouts were no longer lucrative.
He said on a number of occasions, the same Blantyre promoters organise fights in Lilongwe.
Boxer Chimwemwe Chiotcha attributed the Blantyre boxing drought to lack of seriousness among promoters.
He said patronage dropped at the beginning of the year because most fights were starting much later than the scheduled time.
But Ngumi Boxing Promotions manager Steve Mawenzi Msiska told Nation on Sunday that most Blantyre promoters are frustrated by the fact that up to now they do not know which of the two bodies they should deal with.
“I do not think the two entities are really delinked because we are still advised that all communication concerning professional boxing should be channelled through Maba. Just recently, I failed to organise bouts involving local and Congolese boxers at the Blantyre Youth Centre due to such issues.
“I will organise bouts once I see that sanity has been restored in the sport,” said Msiska who arranged high-profile bouts involving top boxers such as Chiotcha and Osgood Kayuni in Blantyre.
Mulanje Last Boxing Promotions (MLBP) director Mike Chitenje shared Zimba’s sentiments on confusion brought about by the delinking of the two bodies.
He, however, said MLBP was not affected by the payment issue because “it is a reputable organisation that easily finds corporate sponsors and pays boxers before bouts.”
“Our inactivity for the better part of 2013 was as a result of our mission to groom new boxers following the departure of some good fighters who joined the Malawi Defence Force (MDF). We need a new crop of boxers to replace them,” he said.