Gilbert Munetsi-Boxing Correspondent
GOOD tidings seem to be in store for Zimbabwean boxing following revelations the country will be host to two high profile events in July this year.
Fresh from having earlier bagged a World Boxing Council (WBC) championship and the keenness shown by Amir Khan and, recently, Floyd Mayweather (Jnr) to visit the country, the World Boxing Council vice-president, Houicine Houichi, on Monday indicated his organisation had considered Zimbabwe for the WBC Officials Training and Grading Seminar as well as the African Boxing Union (ABU) Convention.
In a correspondence originating from his Cantabria base in Spain, the boxing chief advised executive members and African professional boxing commissions and boards of the importance and historic nature of the two events saying: “You should note that this is a very important Convention that will concentrate on administrative capacity building, training and upgrading of ring officials who include supervisors, referees and judges, among others.
“The ring officials’ seminar will be conducted by senior WBC officials and all ring officials in Africa are urged to attend.”
About 120 delegates are expected for the WBC gathering and 80 for the ABU meeting. The occurrence is likely to impact positively on the country’s goal to transform the domestic boxing landscape and breathe a new lease of life into it.
The dates set for the two mega events are July 25-27 and July 29-30 respectively and the Government, through the Sports Ministry, has committed to support with logistical and conferencing needs.
Zimbabwe National Boxing and Wrestling Control Board secretary-general, Lawrence Zimbudzana, yesterday confirmed the development and said the resort town of Victoria Falls will be the venue for both events.
Houichi, who in January was the match commissioner in Lusaka, Zambia, in the Kudakwashe Chiwandire-Cathrine Phiri WBC interim super-bantamweight contest subsequently won by the former, had then indicated Zimbabwe would be considered for the 2022 hosting of the continental and global events.
“There has been significant development in boxing in Zimbabwe and my teams at WBC and ABU strongly feel we ought to take our annual convergence to Harare to strengthen the strides made by Zim boxing this far,” Houichi said back then.
“It is quite an honour for the country to host such high profile events as its in sync with the National Development Strategy thrust.
“The hosting will provide us with a unique opportunity to position the country as a serious boxing nation and this is also in line with our strategic vision of becoming an excelling combat sporting nation by 203. The events will certainly offer us a platform to showcase Zimbabwe as a sports tourism destination of choice,” Zimbudzana said in an interview yesterday.
He reiterated his organisation’s goal to transform Victoria Falls into Africa’s Las Vegas as there were future plans to host high profile matches in the resort town in future, adding:
“Obviously all delegates coming for the two events will have the chance to experience Zimbabwe’s hospitality and they will basically become our ambassadors.”
Traditionally, an international boxing tournament is hosted on the sidelines of the ABU/WBC convergence and Zimbudzana said the same could apply for July should a keen promoter come on board.