By Sizalobuhle Khumalo
The recently held Five Nations Boxing Friendly Championship sponsored by the Victoria Falls Boxing Academy is set to be the pinnacle of Zimbabwe Boxing Federation (ZBF) annual tournaments.
The development was announced by ZBF Vice President, Isaac Goora last Saturday during a press brief ahead of the tournament.
“From the Boxing Federation point of view, this is going to become the pinnacle of the annual tournaments. As you are aware, we hold several tournaments at provincial up to national level. In November, we had two, tournaments which were going to be our last tournament; the National Championship and Champion of Championship.
“The Champions of Champions was done in Bulawayo. Today we are having the five Nations Regional Tournament. What it means is those who were qualifying along the way in both the National Championships and Champions of Championship are now going to fight other champions from the region.”
He said the platform was necessary towards giving local boxers critical international exposure.
“We are excited that this platform is going to enhance our developmental programme in that they will have an international exposure, our boxers will have that exposure which is a requirement for them to become international champions,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s international boxer, Charles Manyuchi thanked the organisers of the tournament, saying it was going to give local boxers the much need exposure to enter into the international scene.
He also said Boxing Academies were important to discovering and developing talent.
“I never had such exposure. I did not come from any Boxing Academy nor did I participate in any Zone Tournament. When I look back, I see that I could be up the radar if my talent had been developed through those stages,” he said.
The Charles Manyuchi Boxing Academy has boxers from Bulawayo and Masvingo.
Meanwhile, Christie Brookstein, a member of the organising team, was overwhelmed by the response the tournament got from fans.
The Kingdom Hotel enclosure attracted a full house.
“We had to turn away people after trying to squeeze in more seats. All the 260 tickets were sold out. Next time we will need a bigger venue. Let me say it was great boxing; the atmosphere was phenomenal,” said Brookstein.
The Botswana team fielded champions and lost only one bout to Zimbabwe after Trade Nkubozabo won with a split decision over Kabelo Molatlhegi in the flyweight category.
Other Zimbabwe pugilists Angeto Mabeza (middleweight), Anele Bafana (light heavyweight), Brendon Dennis (lightweight), Ndabezinhle Phiri (flyweight) and Zibusiso Nyoni (featherweight) won their matches against Zambian and Malawian opponents.
Zambia’s Patrich Chinyemba, who beat Botswana’s Rajab Mahommed in the flyweight category, was adjudged the best boxer.
Besides giving boxers an opportunity to exhibit their skills, the tournament provided a platform to earn points to qualify for the African Olympic Qualifiers in Senegal and for the Youth Olympic qualifiers.