Host country Malawi suffered heavy losses as all local boxers lost against Zambian based boxers during the African Boxing Union (ABU) boxing feast held at Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) last night.It was a painful night for local boxing pundits, including Youth and Sports Minister, who might have left Umodzi Park wondering whether he was invited to be embarrassed in front of foreign dignitaries and the locals.
The Minister thought she had suffered enough embarrassment when local boxers Chikondi Makawa, Emmanuel Chimanja and female boxer Anisha Bashil failed miserably against Zambian opponents in non-title bouts with flyweight boxer Chimanja fainting just after two minutes and 12 seconds against Alfred Mughogho.Bashil lost against Lolita Muzeya on a unanimous points decision after eight rounds with her Malawian compatriot Makawa losing on a split points’ decision at the hands of Esaya Chilufia.
But the worst was to follow during the ABU Welter Weight Title bout involving Malawi’s Limbani Masamba and Mbiya Nkaku from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) but based in Zambia.Masamba started the bout promisingly but broke-down mid-way into the first round when a heavy punch from Nkaku sent him sprawling on the canvas. He, however, managed to beat the count but when the bout continued, South African based referee Siphiwe Sithole stopped the contest after only two minutes fifty 58 seconds fearing for the worst for the Malawian, who lost it on Technical Knock-Out (TKO).
The referee’s decision did not go down well with Malawian fans and officials, who felt Masamba was fit enough to continue with the bout.Masamba himself said during a post-bout press conference he was surprised by the referee’s decision, claiming he was gaining momentum when the ref stopped the bout.But promoter for Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions Christopher Malunga, who came with the Zambian boxers backed the referee saying safety was of paramount importance in professional boxing.
“The referee did not want Masamba to experience what his fellow countryman Chimanja experienced when he was knocked unconscious in round one. He stopped the bout to save Masamba because he was at the receiving end,” said Malunga, who pledged to work with Malawian boxers to improve on their fitness.The bouts were sponsored by local boxing firm No Pain No Gain Boxing Promotions.