The Malawi Professional Boxing Control Board (MPBCB) is making strides in its quest to rejuvenate professional boxing. I (GC) spoke to the board’s publicity secretary Frank Chibisa (FC) on what they have achieved so far and their plans for the future. Excerpts:
GC: At the beginning of the year, the president of MPBCB Lonzoe Zimba outlined a number of programmes aimed at revitalising professional boxing, have you made any progress so far?
FC: Yes, we indeed earmarked on a number of programmes such as conducting workshops for judges, managers, promoters and trainers. So far, we have had a workshop for judges which was a success and very soon, we shall be having another workshop for trainers and managers so that they appreciate their roles and be updated on modern requirements. For example, managers are supposed to meet the needs of their boxers such as equipment. The manager is the bargaining agent for the boxer. It is the manager’s responsibility to negotiate with the promoter on behalf of the boxer and obtain the highest compensation [which is known as purse] for the fighter. Managers are also responsible for observing their boxer’s diet, especially in the countdown to a fight. So, it is important that a boxer should have a manager and we would like to see to it that every professional boxer should have a manager.
GC: It was also announced that title national bouts would be revived, has there been any progress?
FC: Yes. We announced that all the 10 belts would be up for grabs and they were all declared vacant. So far, only Osgood Kayuni managed to defend the junior welterweight belt when he beat Limbani Masamba, but as per requirement, a boxer is supposed to defend the belt within three months or else it is declared vacant and the board has the right to reclaim it. There are also a number of title bouts coming up. This time we will be strict. No boxer will be allowed to keep the belt more than the required three-month period.
GC: Are there any other achievements to show off?
FC: Of late we have witnessed the rise of international bouts, some of them title eliminating fights. We have seen our boxers take to the ring against top boxers from other countries. Recently our boxers went to Namibia where they faced boxers from other countries and for the first time ever, we have managed to send three promising boxers Salimu Chazama, Tinkhani Kamanga and Enelesi Mkhwanthi for supporting bouts to the World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight bout between Zambian defending champion Catherine Phiri and Christine McMahon from Ireland scheduled for Saturday [today] in Lusaka, Zambia. Chazama will face Mbiya Mkuku from DRC in an eight-round junior welterweight non-title bout. Kamanga will take on Zambia’s Alfred Mughogho in six rounds flyweight category while Nkhwanthi will face Bernadette Achieng. Another achievement is that despite the football season being in full swing, boxing bouts are attracting huge crowds which is testimony that the sport is regaining its glory.