ESTHER Phiri says she was robbed of a deserved victory over South African Sandra Almeida.
The Zambian boxer clobbered Almeida leaving her with a deep cut on top of her right eye during the Friday night Womens International Boxing Association (WIBA) and World Boxing Federation (WBF) unified middleweight title fight.
Esther said in an interview after the fight was stopped in the third round with blood flowing from Almeida’s face that she deserved to win the fight because she clearly pounded her opponent.
She denied head-butting Almeida but that it was her powerful ‘Zesco’ punches that made a mess of the South African.
The fight was stopped in the third round after Almeida sustained a deep cut above the right eye causing excessive bleeding as fans started celebrating Esther’s supposedly comeback win.
Shockingly, the judges ruled that the fight was a technical draw, a decision that annoyed Esther and fans that came in numbers to support the comeback fight for the former World and Africa champion.
A technical draw is a term used in boxing when a fight has to be stopped because a fighter is unable to continue due to an accidental injury usually caused by cuts or fouls.
“The result is not encouraging. I wonder why they are doing this to me. I gave Sandra two strong punches and it was not a head butt,” she said.
Esther has demanded for a rematch to fix Almeida who she believes she would have finished off if the fight had continued.
“I want a rematch to finish Sandra, the girl is not a good boxer all she was doing was holding, she is not a good puncher,” she said.
The first round had nothing to offer as both boxers sized up each other without throwing any serious punches as the clock wound down.
Esther dominated the second round as she started chasing Almeida throwing some punches as the South Africa opted to be on the defensive and the Zambian continued with her pace in the third throwing punch after punch to cut her opponent.
Almeida had no response to the countless punches that Esther threw as blood flowed from the cut making her face bloodied prompting the doctor to stop the fight much to the delight of the fans.
The 33-year-old said she was looking forward for a rematch because Esther did not use punches but head butted her.
The South African said she begged the doctor to continue fighting because she was not in pain, claiming that she had no idea she was even bleeding.
“I had no idea I was cut and was bleeding. I really begged the doctor if we could continue but he refused. Will just have to look forward for a rematch,” Almeida said.
Esther’s promoter-cum–trainer Anthony Mwamba said the verdict was disappointing especially after putting so much effort to organise the fight.
Mwamba said despite the judges deciding that it was a draw, he strongly believed his boxer carried the day as Almeida had nothing to offer.
“We were definitely robbed of a victory, there is nothing we can do about the judges’ decision but what I saw were punches not a head butt,” a dejected Mwamba said.
Mwamba said Esther won the unification fight but will go back in the gymnasium and prepare for a rematch.
He said Esther deserved a rematch because Almeida allegedly had no techniques as a boxer and she was just holding.
“These belts are ours; Sandra is not a good boxer she was just bouncing in the ring. We will go back in the gymnasium and prepare for the rematch,” he said.
Almeida’s coach Kenneth O’connor said the doctor was too cautious to have stopped the fight when the boxer was still capable of carrying on with the fight.
O’connor said Almeida was still determined to fight despite the deep cut which could not have come from a punch but rather a head butt.
“For those who know boxing, you can tell that the mass of the lap is too big to come from a punch but a head butt. The result is not pleasant at all, it’s like kissing your own sister which is not cool. I feel the doctor was too cautious blood was flowing to the side and not entering the eye. Sandra could have continued the fight,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sports Minister Vincent Mwale expressed disappointment with the fight verdict saying Esther deserved to carry the day.
Mwale said he was not sure whether it was a head butt or punch but was confident Esther would win if the fight had continued.