By Gilbert Munetsi
Zimbabwe Boxing Federation technical director Steven Masiyambumbi recently became the only referee/judge from the Southern African region invited to officiate at the AIBA World Men’s Championships.
The global boxing extravaganza took place in Belgrade, Serbia, between October 22-November 7 this year. His call to duty came at a time when the fraternity was under scrutiny following the recent death of a boxer, Taurai Zimunya, who died from injuries sustained in the ring.
According to the boxing rule book, referees have a call to protect boxers at all times. Masiyambumbi holds a 3 Star AIBA badge which is the highest qualification for those in his field.
He was one of three other Africans in a pool of 50 chosen to handle the hundreds of bouts on the Belgrade championships card.
The others were an Egyptian, Algerian and a Moroccan.
The Zimbabwean was a referee in 19 contests and judged 86 others involving countries that included Cuba, the USA, Khazakstan and Germany among others. Son to the late veteran administrator Petros Masiyambumbi, the ZNA employed Steven quit an amateur career as a boxer to go into officiating.
Having attained the AIBA Star 1 in Bulawayo in 2014, he went on to seat for the Star 2 exams in Botswana five years later, before finally acquiring the Star 3 badge in Dubai in May this year.
“First we were subjected to an induction seminar where we were taught the new rules… boxing rules change all the time.
“We were then interviewed and during this process, some could not make it, they fell by the wayside and were returned to their countries.
“I have a wish to impart the knowledge l obtained during my tour of duty in Serbia and hope the authorities will give me an opportunity to share my new-found knowledge and experience for the benefit of fellow Zimbabwean ring officials,”Masiyambumbi said.
ZBF president, Festus Dumbu, was this week over the moon with the achievement, saying: “The ZBF is very elated to have one of its elite referees appointed to take up duty at such a prestigious world event.
“We invested a lot in the development of Masiyambumbi, among other referees and judges under our auspices, and the recognition is a clear sign that we are capable of producing world-class officials.
“This is an inspiration to others. We now have someone who can be used as a model of excellence by upcoming referees and judges. Zimbabwe is proud to have received positive messages of appreciation from fellow African boxing leaders who were at Belgrade, Serbia, and witnessed, first hand, Steven Masiyambumbi’s performance at the World Boxing Championships.
“It certainly is an inspiring illustration that excellence is everywhere, all we need to do is to capitalise on it. My federation is proud of Steven who we will use to grow more decorated referees and judges.”
Meanwhile, Masiyambumbi has been invited to take part in the Zone 5 Games in Maseru, Lesotho, at the beginning of next month. Nhau/Indaba