THIS BOXING ADVENTURISM WILL NOT END WELL
Recently the country has seen a new craze where the Boxing Association picks "celebrity" amateur boxers for a fun sparring.
But it won't end well I dare say. They better be warned. It was all fun and games when it was amateur and out of shape boxers doing it for fun but we must never forget the dangers that lurk with every punch in a sport like boxing. Some can even be fatal. Worse still there are no head gears to protect these amateur boxers.
When political activist Mphandlana Shongwe was paired with controversial Prophet, Vusi Dlamini, popularly known as Major V, despite being of different weight classification, we let it go because it was "fun" and we didn't want to be spoilsports. Pairing a featherweight pensioner like Mphandlana with a younger and agile Major V seemed unfair but we all wanted the fun. But the truth is that weight matters in boxing.
Although there are some exceptions, there is often a correlation between weight and strength. While boxing is hardly predicated on strength, it is still a helpful attribute and can greatly help boxers in the clinch and punch exchanges. And the weight and age disparities between Shongwe and Major V were all too evident. The other reason why Major V's weight gave him an advantage is that it allowed him to generate more power.
This is inherently part of being stronger but they are not the same thing. Strength and punching power mean very different things in boxing. The result was a humiliating defeat by Shongwe. But we should have all been alarmed when, in the wisdom of the organizers of such tournaments, they started to pair Simanga Maziya, a professional body builder, a soldier and amateur boxer with a Prophet of Major V's physique.
The bout was set for eSwatini International Trade Fair a few days ago in a winner-takes-all competition. The tournament would’ve seen the victor walk away with a E10 000 cash prize. The prophet saved his skin and didn't pitch for the match. The fight was unfair at all levels. First, because of the different professional experiences of the two, their age difference, their muscle strength, their weight and most of all their experience in the sport.
It was going to be sacrificing Major V to a slaughterhouse. The good old Prophet did well to run away from the fight. But what would have happened had Maziya fought Major V and caused serious and permanent injuries or, worse, inflicted fatal ones? How would they have justified the fight? Introducing (semi) professionals kills the idea behind such fights and increases the risks. eSwatini Boxing Association President Webster Lukhele must know he is one punch away from a possible death, permanent injury and a resultant lawsuit. He must follow the rules even if it's just fun and games.