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Boxers rue missed golden opportunity

Sukoluhle Mthethwa

ZIMBABWEAN heavyweight boxing champion Thamsanqa Dube and bantamweight Peter Pambeni’s chances of getting more international fights have receive

d a blow as the boxing fiesta that was set to feature boxers from Uganda has been cancelled.

Ntando Mlilo, spokesperson of Blow by Blow Boxing Promotions, conceded they have failed to secure the required $2 million for the big tournament which had been set for December 22 in Bulawayo.

“The tournament has been called off,” Mlilo said. “We have failed to raise the required $2 million.”

Mlilo said prospective sponsors approached indicated that they have already exhausted their budgets and were now looking at next year.

“We thought this was a high-profile event where companies would have seized marketing opportunities presented to them,” said Mlilo.

Mlilo lamented the organisers’ failure to sell television rights in efforts to market the sport.

He also said boxing could be revamped by sponsoring such big tournaments.

“It’s up to the people to resuscitate the sport by sponsoring it,” said Mlilo.

The $2 million was supposed to cater for the visiting Ugandan boxers’ requirements such as food, accommodation and transport, the purses for local boxers, referees and other ancillary costs.

“We had it on the silver platter and this is a golden opportunity lost by Zimbabwe boxing,” said Mlilo.

Dube has been starved of both local fights and international fights. In October he refused to travel to Zambia arguing that he was offered a measly US$300. He said he was disappointed at losing out on what was going to be his second international boxing fight.

“It is disappointing,” said Dube. “I have not been in the ring for the whole of this year and I thought this would be my first fight of the year.”

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