By Gilbert Munetsi
Going into last night’s fight against Jeremiah “Low Key” Nakathila of Namibia, the writing was already on the wall for Zimbabwe’s featherweight pugilist Ndodana Ncube who threw in the towel in the second round to save himself from further anguish.
Ncube, who came into the contest at W7-L2-D0, succumbed to an early second-round defeat at the hands of Nakathila in an international non-title contest earlier pegged at eight rounds. He could not, however, go the distance after the journeyman fighter from the land of the brave clinically delivered a straight to the jaw which sapped all the steam from a beleaguered Ncube.
The two were fighting on a card promoted by Nestor Sunshine Boxing Promotions which was dubbed “Together as One Part 4”. It was held at the Windhoek Country Club in the Namibian capital, and was one of the supporting bouts of the WBO Africa super-middleweight title match between compatriots Anthony Jarmann and Paulinus Ndjolonimus.
But judging from the records of Ncube and Nakathila, any bookmaker could predict the odds were highly staked in favour of the Namibian, given that he not only has won 21 (KO 17) of his last 23 fights, but he has also been the WBO Africal super-featherweight champion a record four times.
He has also held the WBO global championship three times, losing it in June this year to USA’s Shakur Stevenson. He is yet to lose to a boxer from the African continent.
It is the same Nakathila who was responsible for Peter Pambeni’s loss of the WBO Africa super-lightweight title after the latter relinquished it to fight for a global belt. He lost in Round 8.
Fact, Zimbabwean boxers have been inactive for a good part of the past two years owing to Covid-19 restrictions, but that cannot be used as an excuse given that when a pugilist voluntarily partakes in a match and loses, a dent on their record is imminent.
Ncube (alias The Black Hammer) who relocated to his home-town of Hwange following the lapsing of his contract with Mau Mau Boxing earlier in the year, may also not have had the best of training facilities and sparring partners which are both a prerequisite for good preparation.
His determined performance in the first round deserves credit as he managed to go toe to toe with his opponent, impressively bobbing and weaving some threatening jabs that were thrown his way. But experience being the best teacher, it never took time for Nakathila to dig into his rich bag of experience and from it, extract a formula that doused the little flame left in Ncube. The fight, which a commentator likened to a sparring match, ended in 2m, 29s of Round 2.
This is the second successive defeat by Zimbabwe within a week after heavyweight fighter Vincent Muziri’s attempt at the ABU Southern Africa region title last Wednesday also turned mission impossible at the hands of Ardi Ndembo of the Congo Brazzaville. Muziri hit the canvass in the third round.
Zimbabwe’s hopes for silverware are now pinned on the duo of Philip “Mad Cobra” Musariri who is vying for a WBO title and Chiedza Homakoma of Har Rock Boxing who also has a championship assignment in East Africa before year-end. According to her camp, plans are also afoot for Monalisa “The Queen” Sibanda to defend her Women International Boxing Association (WIBA) title soon.
Meanwhile, a safari company with operations in the resort town of Kariba is mooting plans to bring regular boxing shows to their newly-adopted home. Monkey Safaris recently concluded hand-over, take-over negotiations of the Moth Holiday Resort and one of the directors, Kuda Magezi, told Nhau in Kariba he will prioritise the sport of boxing on his entertainment menu.
“We will engage both amateur and professional boxing for the possible hosting of regular tournaments at our new venue, taking advantage of the proximity of Zambia for international matches featuring boxers from our neighbours. The plans have been on the cards for some time, and our only handicapp has been a venue to have them take off. Now that we have a place that is ours, people in Kariba should brace themselves for boxing action which we plan to have every so often,” Magezi said. Nhau/Indaba