By Gilbert Munetsi
National heavyweight boxing champion Vincent Muziri yesterday left for Dar es Salaam where he will fight Congo Brazaville’s Arda Ndembo for the African Boxing Union (ABU) Southern region title.
Their main drawcard bout, dubbed “Rising Stars” and promoted by Global Boxing Stars, will take place at the Millenium Tower 2 (Mtana Hall) in the Tanzanian capital on Wednesday night. It will be over 10 rounds.
At 5-4-1, this will be Muziri’s biggest assignment in his professional career. He has since defeated Simon Madanhire to clinch the national championship.
On the flip side, the towering Congolese boasts of an unscathed record of 4-0-0.
Earlier in the year, Muziri (of Mau Mau Boxing) and Ndembo clashed in a non-title bout in Harare and the latter emerged victorious under three rounds.
The Zimbabwean blamed short notice and lack of preparedness for the fall, and was quick to appeal for a re-match that has since been granted by the ABU.
“I could not hold fort because of the short period given to me after the boxer l replaced had pulled out.
“It was evident from my performance that l had accumulated a lot of ring rust. But going into this fight, a lot of preparation has been put in and l’m confident l will triumph and bring the belt home,” Muziri told Nhau before departure.
The ABU is a subsidiary of the World Boxing Council (WBC) and was the same stepping stone used by Charles Manyuchi when he first fought for the ABU welterweight title against Patrice Sao Toke in Burkina Faso before subsequently vying for the WBC international and silver titles later in his career.
In a country that has a shortage of fighters in the heavyweight division compared to yesteryears, Muziri carries the hopes of the nation going into Wednesday’s showdown.
The legendary Proud “Kilimanjaro” Chinembiri, arguably the best heavyweight to come out of Zimbabwe, was for several years the All Africa Heavyweight (ABU) king.
After him, and years later, came Tamsanqa Dube who once held but could not defend his WBA Pan-Africa championship. And also making a mark in the same category was Arigoma “Master Blaster” Chiponda who had a shot at the Commonwealth title, but lost to Gary Delaney via a fifth round KO in the United Kingdom back in 1995.
Meanwhile, Ndodana Ncube will take on Namibia’s Jeremiah Nakhatila in an 8-round friendly encounter at the Windhoek Country Club on October 16.
Anisha Basheel, a Malawian boxing champion fighting under the Delta Force Boxing stable in Zimbabwe, has a date with Kenyan Sarah Achieng for the Commonwealth super-lightweight crown.
Basheel made history by becoming the first female pugilist to claim a title (lightweight) under the Commonwealth Boxing Council, and should she emerge victorious in Nairobi this month, she is set to pen another first for being the first female boxer to be crowned champion under the same banner in two divisions. Nhau/Indaba