Boika’s spectacular, premature fall out
Gilbert Munetsi Boxing Correspondent
ACCORDING to the Merriam Webster dictionary, to flame out means “falling out spectacularly, and especially prematurely.”
That can best sum up the potential that once existed in ex-champion boxer Brendon “Boika” Denes, but has tragically waned in just a fortnight.
Before May 27, the past World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Africa champion had an untainted 9-0 record, an envy of any fighter whose aim is to catch the promoter’s eye and make it to the top.
But the decision to defy a contract and the advice of his American promoter, Edward Mendy of Lionheart Boxing Productions, earned him his first professional defeat.
He lost, on points, to Azerbaijan Roman Zakirov in a contest hosted by Hope and Glory Promotions at the Battle Grounds in New Delhi, India.
In a comment just after the match, Mendy told The Herald then: “I advised Brendon against the fight but he took it without my permission.
It was too short a notice and he needed more time to prepare. He didn’t want to listen. All that potential is wasted. It’s a shame. I hate that l’m right.”
The two parties have a valid five-year contract signed after Denes parted ways with Charles Manyuchi Academy in 2020.
And now the spotlight is on the fight he recently partook, also without Lionheart Boxing Productions’ consent, in Russia. On June 15, he travelled as a lone ranger (minus coach or manager) and lost in the ninth round to Vitaly Petryakov.
A prophetic Mendy had also predicted the outcome, saying: “If he lost in India, Russia is worse.”
However, Boika’s woes do not end with that latest defeat.
It has emerged the beleaguered boxer travelled to Russia without clearance from the Zimbabwe National Boxing and Wrestling Control Board and faces imminent censorship from the regulator.
As if those are not enough woes, he has also been struck off the bout card in which he was supposed to fight for a title as an undercard to the Kudakwashe Chiwandire WBC championship defence at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) on August 20.
Owing to his latest loss by knockout, he has to serve a three-month suspension before he can return to the boxing ring.
Meanwhile, Denes has a big task to fight the sanction battles that stare him in the eye. According to law, when a boxer has been invited to take part in a fight, either locally or outside the country, the board is furnished with a copy of the contract.
It then establishes whether the concerned boxer has appropriate medicals and is in good standing (has paid all monetary dues which include the licence fee and all levies). That did not happen in Denes’ case and he seemingly is not shouldering liability.
“Yes, l went to Russia on my own after (Charles) Manyuchi excused himself owing to other commitments.
“But I’m duly paid up and before departure l had approached the board seeking to be cleared.”
He said even though he had not been given the green light, he travelled for the fight whereupon he was assisted by a Tanzanian delegation that was in Russia to secure a clearance from their country.
Practically, it means he fought as a Tanzanian boxer, with a Tanzanian cornerman (named as Jay) aiding him.
“I’m not aware if it is a commission of a crime in having someone of my choice as an assistant. In fact, it was reciprocal in that Manyuchi and l also helped a boxer from Tanzania when we went to India,” Boika said.
ZNBWCB Chief Executive Officer, Lawrence Zimbudzana, was yet to respond to questions sent to him.
This is not the first time such an incident has happened in boxing. Nineteen years ago Arifonso “Mosquito” Zvenyika skipped the country’s borders without clearance. He was beaten to near-death in the first round by Mbwana Matumla.
Upon his return the former Commonwealth champion was arraigned before the boxing commission and handed a six-month ban. He subsequently quit boxing to focus on coaching.
Meanwhile, the promoter who arranged the fight was banned by the Tanzania Professional Boxing Board for life.