Brian Mwando on Saturday evening won the 12-round middleweight title bout against Chikondi Makawa in controversial circumstances at Robin’s Park in Blantyre.
The 27-year-old claimed the vacant belt on unanimous points decision (UPD) after escaping a knock-out defeat in the 10th round, where Makawa was penalised for disobeying umpire Juliet Milore’s order to stop punching his opponent at the neutral corner.
Mwando dominated the bout, but a flurry of punches that led to his bleeding mouth in the 10th round put Makawa on the right track for an easy knock-out win. However, Milore stopped the fight for Mwando to get back the mouth guard he spat on the canvas.
Makawa, whose card now shows six wins and six losses, believed that out-of-sorts Mwando did that deliberately to buy time and regain strength before the last two rounds as he continued to hit his opponent despite the umpire restraining him.
This forced the jury led by Mbachichi Nyirenda, who is also Malawi Professional Boxing Control Board (MPBCB) general secretary for the South, to stop the fight and go by the judges’ scorecards to declare the winner with two rounds to go.
“In any sport, the umpire is authority and disobeying his/her commands is a serious offence. The patrons might see Mwando deliberately removing the mouth-guard, but that offence cannot be counted if the umpire did not see it,” said Nyirenda.
“The harsher punishment for Makawa was to disqualify him but we decided to go by the rule that says when a bout has exceeded four rounds, you can go by the score-cards to declare a winner. Therefore, Mwando has won on UPD as he has scored 98-85, 99-94 and 99-94 on judges’ cards.”
Nevertheless, 25-year-old Makawa felt there was daylight robbery, saying it was just a ploy to prevent him from strapping the belt across his shoulders.
The No Pain No Gain Boxing Promotions’ boxer said: “How could they not declare me winner after I landed more than 10 punches on Mwando without reply as per boxing rules? How could they not let the bout continue after he deliberately removed a mouth-guard? This is daylight robbery.”
On his part, Mwando admitted that Makawa came harder in the 10th round and he was happy to have won the bout, which Alufandika Boxing Promotions and Zama Boxing Promotions organised on points. n