Zambia’s national team head coach Wisdom Mudenda is a proud man.
He says despite his boxer Patrick Chinyemba fighting without lunch, he inscribed his name in the annals of boxing history as the first African winner in the IBA Champions Night fights in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on the night of October 27.
“We arrived in Dushanbe at 4.30pm and picked at the airport straight to the venue for medical check-up and weigh-in so my boxer had no time to have a decent lunch,” says a jovial Mudenda.
“I reminded him about the lunch he took on board the flight to Dushanbe. In Africa that’s not lunch, that’s just an appetiser,” he says with a light touch.
“I got a few bananas from the Netherlands coach, and that’s all he ate before his fight with the Russian boxer (Artur Nagapetian).
“With that in mind I told him not to open up in the first round and avoid using too much power for fear of exhausting himself because he had no lunch but I told him he must win the first four rounds.
“Otherwise all I can say is that he fought according to the technical bench’s instructions. I was assisted by coach Aerial Banda
“I’m delighted he boxed very well to win the six-round fight by a unanimous decision.”
On his overall views, Mudenda says: “Chinyemba has a bright future. Come 2024 I would prefer he is exposed to more international training camps preferably in the USA, Cuba, France and Uzbekistan so that he can spar and train with the best boxers in the world, he’s definitely a medal prospect in the Olympic Games.”
Did Chinyemba have a problem adjusting to the pro boxing format in his debut in IBA Champions Night?
“Not at all, in any case at the national team we do five rounds of three minutes and thirty seconds.
“Then we resume to the normal three rounds and duration nearer the competition,” says Mudenda who has thanked the International Boxing Association for inviting Chinyemba to feature in this prestigious event for the first time.
“I hope they’ll invite him in more IBA Champions Night fights because he has proved himself here, he fought very well,” Coach Mudenda said.
The 22-year-old Chinyemba, a soldier with Zambia Defence Forces, says he’s satisfied by his performance.
“I’m proud of myself for that victory, it means a lot to me and this fight was also in preparation for 2024 Olympics Games,” he said.
“My opponent was good but I was better than him, he caught me with only two punches but I didn’t feel them I was in charge throughout the six rounds,” the Zambian slugger added.
The other African boxer in action, South Africa’s Akani Fuzi lost by a unanimous decision in an eight-round cruiserweight bout against Russia’s two-time world champion and Olympic silver medallist, Muslim Gadzhimagomedov whose win follows a split decision victory over Cuba’s five-time world champion and double Olympic gold medallist Julio La Cruz in August on the eve of International Boxing Day celebrations in Serpukhov, Russia, in August this year.
In all, six African boxers have so far featured in the IBA Champions Night series. The others are Uganda’s East and Central Africa middleweight champion ), Shadiri Bwogi, South Africa’s former world IBO and WBF champion, Ndongeni Xolisani, Cape Verde’s Africa female welterweight champion, Ivanusa Moreira Gomes and two-time Africa middleweight champion and 2022 world championships bronze medallist, Rady Gramane of Mozambique.
Credit: AFBC Communications