Malawi Professional Boxing Control Board (MPBCB) has suspended all international bouts involving local boxers due to the coronavirus (Covid 19) epidemic.
The development means South Africa-based Malawian female boxer Ellen ‘Tigress’ Simwaka’s Women International Boxing Association (Waba) world title bantamweight bout against her host Zambian Lina Kasweka on March 28 has been postponed indefinitely.
Male boxers Alick Mwenda and Charles Misanjo, who were supposed to travel to Namibia for international non-title bouts this weekend, have also seen their fights cancelled. Mwenda was to face Namibian Walter Kautondokwa while the identity of Misanjo’s opponent was not yet known.
MPBCB president Lonzoe ‘Defector’ Zimba yesterday said the suspension follows advice from international boxing bodies to which MPBCB is affiliated such as the World Boxing Council (WBC).
“Considering the situation worldwide, it was only proper to cancel the bouts,” he said.
Simwaka said in an interview from her base that she also got communication from the organisers of her bout, Exodus Boxing Academy, about the matter.
“I got communication from organisers yesterday [Monday] and it was painful, considering the energy I had invested in the preparations,” she said.
“It is something that is beyond my control. Looking at how the virus has affected the world, I have to accept the reality.”
The 24-year-old boasts of seven wins (five knockouts), five losses (two knockouts) and a draw while her Zambian opponent has five straight wins.
Simwaka came into the limelight in 2018 when she won the World Boxing Federation (WBF) international bantamweight title after beating South African Simangale ‘Smash’ Hadebe.
Her last bout was against Kristen Fraser for the bantamweight Commonwealth belt in Aberdeen, Scotland in which she retired in the fifth round.
Part of the statement from Exodus reads: “We wish to inform the general public that the much-anticipated tournament dubbed ‘Night of Champions’ has been postponed until further notice in view of the global epidemic.” Zimba said MPBCB is well aware that Simwaka had invested a lot in preparing for this bout, but “we just have to appreciate the situation in which we are”.