By SHAMAOMA MUSONDA and GRACE CHAILE –
ZAMBIA’s boxing sweetheart Catherine Phiri this evening again throws her hat in the ring to defend her World Boxing Council (WBC) Silver bantamweight title with the nation hugely expecting her to win.
Under the Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions (OQBP), Catherine, assured of a K80,000 pay cheque, will have to deliver against South Africa’s Bukiwe Nonina, a boxer with a decent record to warrant a title shot and has won all her last five bouts.
Also on the bill tonight will be Zimbabwe’s Charles Manyuchi, playful in the ring though hard hitting and now a darling with the Zambian fight fans and will also be defending his WBC Welterweight International title against Devis Casseres, a Colombian boxer with vast experience.
The main bout will however be that of Catherine Phiri who will be stepping into the ring for the 10th time in her career and boasts of a 100 per cent win record and is eager to add one more victim to her impressive record.
“I am very ready for the fight. I am ready for Nonina. I know she is a good boxer but I want to win this one and I will win,” Catherine said.
She is obviously speaking from the fact that she has met some of the toughest boxers in her category including Natalie Forget from Canada whom she beat through a unanimous decision as well as some easier wins like a round-two win over Leslie Domingo.
But one thing that has stood out in these wins is that she has shown great form at all times, using her superior reach to her advantage to keep her opponents at a safe distance and hitting them from there – a long proven style that keeps delivering for her.
Catherine, who weighed 52.9kg, said she had just hours before putting an end to Nonina’s talkativeness.
“I am happy that there are less than 24 hours to see how Bukiwe will continue yapping in the ring. Bukiwe has been yapping since arriving in Zambia and hope she does the same in the ring. I am ready for the fight and prefer doing the talking in the ring,” she said.
Nonina does want to fall for the statistics and says she is in Zambia to win and cared less about Catherine and her much talked about record.
“I am not intimidated by the record, I am here to fight and to win, that’s all,” she quipped.
After a rough start to her career where she lost two of her first three fights, Nonina has steadied her fighting as well as record which saw her win the next five bouts including a unanimous decision against debutant Ngqondelana Nolubabalo in May this year.
This will not be a small time women fight seen every day, this will be big.
Nonina weighing 52.4 kilogramme said winning the WBC Silver bantamweight title will be the best birthday gift which falls today.
But just before that, there will be a bloodbath in the welterweight category where Charles Manyuchi will be out to defend his title against Colombian boxer Casseres who has fought 21 times over a period of five years.
That is however, not a matter to Manyuchi who in easily dispatching his last opponent in Patrick Allottey to grab the WBC belt, he also cleared off a heavily intimidating record the Ghanaian brought with him.
Allottey had a record winning all his of 30 fight but did not even go the distance while Casseres has in his 21 fight lost four times, and that is to include his last outing against Jose Carlos Paz via a split points decision.
That loss simply further dented the record which now says two losses in the last five bouts.
Manyuchi, however, promised to be less playful this time in the ring and just do his business which should improve his record which stands at 14 wins from 17 bouts win one draw from those.
This promises to be a real blood bath. Manyuchi is guaranteed of US$9,000 (about K56,700).
The undercards will see Philimon Hara fight Bernard Mwango in the bantamweight while the freatherweight category will have Mumbelela Mukuni up against Gibbon Kamota.
The only other female fight will have Lolita Muzeya fighting Zimbabwe’s Monalisa Sibanda in a welterweight bout and Mbiya Nkanku taking on v Isaiah Chilufya.
Meanwhile, two OQBP embarrassingly went overweight ahead of the non-title fights supporting bouts.
Bernard Mwango who was set to fight Philemon Hara in a bantamweight non-title fight weighed two kilograms above the maximum weight cut of 53 kilogramme.
Mbiya Kanku’s opponent Isaiah Chilufya in the welterweight non-title match was declared overweight after weighing 67.3 kilogrammes above the maximum weight cut of 67kg.
OQBP manager Christopher Malunga gave a two-hour target to the seemingly embarrassed boxers to shade off the extra weight or face disqualification.