By Leonard Tenson.
The Malawi Professional Boxing Control Board (MPBCB) has effected a ban on local boxers having their fights outside the country in the wake of coronavirus.
The board’s president, Lonzo Zimba, said that the decision has been arrived at after consulting the World Boxing Council-WBC following the spread of the virus which has affected the sport globally with all activities suffering indefinite suspensions.
“Everyone is concerned with the spread of the corona virus and it’s a decision that we had to make. We are under WBC and we took a step further to consult, at the moment we felt that’s the right thing to do,” Zimba said.
Alick Mwenda, a Malawi Defence Force soldier was expected to fight Namibian Walter Kautondokwa in a non-title bout in the Namibian capital Windhoek this weekend, but the bout has been called off due to coronavirus which the World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic.
Three other local pugilists, namely Charles Misanjo, Salim Chazama and Israel Kammwamba were also supposed to go with him (Alick Mwenda) for their bouts too, but they will not take place because the Namibian government has suspended all big gatherings for a period of thirty days following the confirmation of two cases.
Several boxers were also expected to have their bouts in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe from early next month.
Zimba further said whilst waiting for official communication from government, the board has moved in to ban all foreign bouts for local boxers in accordance to the directive by the World Boxing Council.
“We have done this deliberately considering that most of our boxers get involved with international boxing bouts and with the current situation I think it is not right for our boxers to travel outside for any boxing bout.
“We will try our level best to make sure that this is adhered to because there are times boxers sneak out to outside countries for a match but this is not the time to do that,” Zimba said.
Coronavirus has hugely decimated the global sports calendar with many activities, including the major European leagues, suspended.
Meanwhile, a Malawian boxer, Alick Gogodo, who had a fight last night in Johannesburg, is stuck following South Africa’s ban on foreign travels.
According to Zimba, the board is discussing with the Malawian embassy in South Africa on the safety of local boxer Alick Gogodo who had a fight in Johannesburg last evening, but will face difficulties in returning home following South Africa’s ban on foreign travels.