WHEN boxers exit Zimbabwe on foreign assignments, they do so wearing the badge and honor of the country, hence the need to reign them in when they have strayed, the boxing commission has said.
Zimbabwe National Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (ZNBWCB) chief executive officer, Lawrence Zimbudzana, was responding to an incident in which Brendon “Boika” Denes traveled for an international non-title contest in Russia without clearance.
Against the background of the boxer’s action, Zimbudzana said, it was the country’s pride and reputation that had been put at stake.
“Boika”, who went on to succumb to a ninth-round defeat at the hands of Vitaly Petrykov, had to seek the assistance of a Tanzanian delegation to acquire clearance from their country when all efforts to have the ZNBWCB send one had failed.
He argues that he had been denied clearance despite having submitted his medicals and being in good standing with the board.
Zimbudzana, however, argued a key consideration of his office looked at was the safety of the boxer.
“When they submit their contracts with us, we check on all logistics such as travel arrangements, accommodation, pertaining to the proposed fight.
“In this case “Boika” did not tell us who was accompanying him because seconds (assistants) are very critical when it comes to matches.
“Remember when we go out we are not participating just for the sake of fulfilling a fixture or monetary benefits, but its for country and badge, so there is no room for lackadaisical arrangements,” said Zimbudzana.
The boxing chief said their task was to make sure certain minimum requirements were met before issuing clearance for boxers to travel out of the country.
“Boika did not furnish us with adequate information pertaining to who would be his corner man. We only got to hear that he engaged the services of some Tanzanians.
“If he chooses to have a foreign assistant, we should have a profile of who they are and the reason for that choice ahead of a local person and when we have been satisfied, a clearance is given in that regard.
“Also contrary to his decision to seek clearance when he was already in Russia, it has to be noted that this cannot be done in retrospect, but only before one leaves the country.”
He said the board will take appropriate action and ensure there is creation of a modicum of order and discipline among the boxing flock.
“Processes have to be abided by. Its imperative boxers know they cannot operate just as they wish, otherwise we are promoting mercenary conduct,” said the commissioner.
Meanwhile, all is set for the National Coaches and Officials Training workshop slated for June 30-July 2 at the Rainbow Hotel in Bulawayo. The three-day national event is aimed at improving the competences and technical capabilities of officials to enable them to perform at desirable levels.
It precedes the World Boxing Council (WBC) Officials Training and Grading Seminar and the African Boxing Union (ABU) Convention that Zimbabwe has been given an opportunity to host at the end of July.
For the latter, 120 delegates are expected for the WBC gathering and 80 for the ABU meeting, with the occurrence likely to impact positively on the country’s goal to transform the domestic boxing landscape and breathe a new lease of life into it.
Turning to the Bulawayo convergence for officials, ZNBWCB reiterated the need for the grooming of podium coaches for podium athletes, saying: “It is a strategy that is going to help us in making sure that the sport of boxing spreads to all corners of the country because we will draw participants from all provinces.
“Much effort is required to upscale our stakeholders because skill is very critical and determinant to the production of desirable results.
“Key consideration in boxing is safety, hence the need to have the right people in the right places.
“We wish to obtain a huge data base of competent coaches and technical officials for combat sport in general and boxing in particular,”