Tadious Manyepo in CHIVHU
A WINTRY chilly evening in Chivhu turned into a carnival of celebration as Zimbabwe recorded yet another successful boxing story inside one week with upcoming boxer Tatenda “Signature” Biningu winning two unified titles – WBF and WABA — here in the early hours of yesterday.
It was a befitting feat in a town whose residents converged at the magnificent Phil-Jen Lodges despite punishing low temperatures, at a time this sport is finding its footing in the country once again.
Just a week earlier, Zimbabwe hosted the WBC training workshop and grading seminar in the resort town of Victoria Falls with the historic events’ curtain brought down by a WIBA title fight won by the country’s first professional female boxer Monalisa Sibanda.
And Biningu, carrying the hopes of a nation on his 21-year-old shoulders which had handled eight fights prior, stepped up and executed the task well.
A prodigy to former WBC welterweight champion Charles Manyuchi whose Charles Manyuchi Academy promoted the tournament, Biningu was lightning quick and completed the job in just 160 seconds.
Facing a tried and tested Malawian star, Robert Kachiza, Biningu, buoyed by the backing of over 2 000 boxing fans, rolled over his rival in impressive fashion.
With his signature left jab, Biningu appeared to have been agitated by the sound of the opening bell and sprung into a rage, overwhelming the Malawian who hit the canvas never to recover inside the first round.
The unified belts are Biningu’s first international accolades.
They add to his national super-bantamweight title and he will be hoping to carry on the form as he eyes to challenge for the WBF world crown.
“I felt some bit of pressure obviously knowing I was carrying the hopes of whole country,” said Biningu.
“I would like to thank the fans who drove me all the way to this victory. Special mention goes to my mentor (Charles) Manyuchi and Charles Manyuchi Academy director, Prosper Chibaya, for giving me an opportunity to compete for these titles. I would also want to thank the authorities for enabling us to compete.
“But somehow I was a bit disappointed by the way my opponent went out of the fight. I have won five of my previous fights via KOs but I expected Kachiza to at least last for two rounds. But I am happy I managed to finish him off without breaking a sweat.
“I am now looking forward to my next assignment which will be advised in due course. I don’t break camp. I last had a match in June last year but I never broke camp.”
While it was easy, very easy for Biningu to break his opponent down, it was a different case with another Zimbabwean, Evans “Vanso” Usavihwevhu, who had to labour all the way but still managed to take home the WBF lightweight international title.
Usavihwevhu won by a unanimous points decision against another Malawian pugilist Yohane Banda who, however, gave him a good run for his money.
“Yes, it wasn’t a walk in the park but I thank God, I managed to capture the title at the end There were some anxious moments of course, I was facing a really good fighter,” said Usavihwevhu.
“But I don’t move backwards, I knew if I dropped my guard he would counter. I wanted a KO but once I realized he was resilient, I made sure I had to be meticulously calculative.”
On the same bill, Bulawayo-based super-bantamweight fighter Monica Mkandla turned professional in style following a UD win over Sasha Mambo of Malawi while Revai Madondo knocked out Loveness Khakha also of Malawi in the final of the allotted four-round bout.
Featherweight fighters Faina Musekiwa and Sasha Rutendo were separated with a UD victory by the former as they both debuted in the professional arena.
On the other hand, Andrew John beat Romeo Chibanda, Tafadzwa Mushando accounted for Tarisai Shumba and Clever Sithole outwitted Lazarus Sithole to complete the night’s business.
Chibaya hailed the fighters for their competitiveness in a tournament graced by Zimbabwe National Boxing and Wrestling Control Board chairperson Vee Chibanda, chief executive officer Lawrence Zimbudzana and officials from the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation.