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Monalisa Sibanda retains WIBA title

by Staff reporter
29 Jul 2022 at 06:45hrs | Views
FINALLY, boxer Monalisa "Queen of the Jungle" Sibanda had her day in the ring.

She had waited for what appeared to be like eternity to have a chance of defending her WIBA intercontinental lightweight title.

A belt mandated to be defended within six months took exactly 39 months in the hands of the Zimbabwean female boxer.

It could have been declared vacant long back but the WIBA authorities took cognizance of the fact that Covid-19 had disturbed a smooth flow of life and boxing wasn't spared.

But after failing to secure an opponent twice when she had been required to, Sibanda's last chance was this month.

Her camp was restive over the last two months but then secured a ready challenger in Small Valente Aciro of Uganda, who, like the Zimbabwean, was longing to shake of ring rust having last boxed three years ago.

The venue of the fight was the Kingdom Hotel in Victoria Falls on Wednesday night, this match being the biggest bout that has ever taken place at the resort town.

Moreso, it was bringing down the curtain to two historic events — the WBC training and grading as well as the ABU seminar, which took place in this country for the very first time.

The two events were on Wednesday duly opened by Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga to underline its significance. Expectedly, the resort town, which until Wednesday night had never hosted a professional boxing tournament, came to a stand-still with revellers scrambling to get a place in an auditorium whose guest list was topped by the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Kirsty Coventry.

And Sibanda should have felt very anxious heading into the ring.

Her challenger is a good fighter by all standards and she is someone who cannot easily become subdued.

But, Sibanda was just too inspired in the gripping 10-round showdown.

She was all over her opponent, knocking her down twice with a strong right jab in the third and eighth round.

But the bruised Ugandan wasn't short of endurance. She even threatened to turn the score upside down in the ninth round but with the full support of a raucous home crowd and a good number of tourists, "the Queen of Jungle'' Sibanda just couldn't be bullied.

She claimed the fight via a Unanimous Decision and for once, she can sleep well without the grim imagination of seeing her belt being stripped without a fight.

"I am very excited to have won this fight. I have been preparing to defend it since April 2019 when I won the belt," said Sibanda.

"I would like to thank the Government of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe National Boxing and Wrestling Control Board, the promoter of this fight, Stalin Mau Mau, and everyone for the support they have given me."

Her bill had four other fights with Jeremiah Mhere who accounted for Malawi's Bernard Mwango via points and Anele Bafana beat Alick Gogodo of Zambia through a TKO having cleared the stage for Sibanda.

On the other hand, Zimbabweans Lloyd Mujibilikwa and Tafadzwa Chikerema who were both turning pro could not be separated.

Source - The Herald
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