In the past boxing was a highly popular sport in the city of Bulawayo as professional tournaments were frequently organised.
Over the years the sport seems to have died a natural death as the city has not held any professional boxing tournament since 2005.
Boxers like Zimbabwe heavyweight champion Thamsanqa Dube, former champion Mordecai Donga, Gardner Ndingwa, Khumbula Ndlovu and Mandla Phuthi were some of the fighters who used to participate in the tournaments.
Windermere Hotel, Manor Hotel, Bulawayo Polytechnic and Reynolds Inn were some of the places where the tournaments were held. Reynolds Inn was even dubbed the “Home of Boxing” as many tournaments were held there.
The sport was so popular that even boxers from Zambia flocked into the country to take part in the tournaments.
Heavyweight boxing champion Dube had run out of opponents then as boxers like Ndingwa challenged him on numerous occasions but had fallen by the wayside.
After making his mark on the local scene because of the regular tournaments, Dube proved his mettle on the international scene. He beat Joseph “Ramos” Phiri, a Zambian heavyweight boxer in a 12-round contest.
Despite the promising potential in the sport that the city boasted of the sport is now extinct as years have passed by without the city hosting any tournament.
Prominent boxing coach Phillip “Striker” Ndlovu lamented the sport’s death.
“Professional boxing has been totally destroyed as there are no active boxers. Even Pan African champion Thamsanqa Dube has had to go for a year without fighting,” he said.
Ndlovu said the major problem that had affected boxing was sponsorship which he said was a major setback.
“Our major challenge is that the sport has no sponsorship. Promoters cannot do anything if there is no money to hold tournaments,” he said.
He said that it was unfortunate that some people did not even know that the sport had a following in the country.
“Most people do not know that there is boxing in the country. It is difficult to force someone to support the sport unless they develop an interest in it,” he said.
Ndlovu called on the corporate world to sponsor boxing.
“We are asking the corporate world to assist. We do not want the sport to be left to die. They should chip in and sustain the sport,” he said.
He pointed out that the lack of activity in the sport had forced many boxers to migrate to neighbouring South Africa.
“Some of the boxers have ended up going to South Africa,” he added.
Zimbabwe Board of Boxing and Wrestling Control secretary Patrick Mukondiwa said the sport had died in Bulawayo because of lack of promoters.
“I attribute the lack of boxing in Bulawayo to lack of promoters. There used to be boxing mainly when there was Rampage Ring Promotions under the late Jeff Dube. After he died there were no more promoters,” he said.
Mukondiwa said there could not do anything to help the sport if there were no promoters in the city. “The board cannot do anything if there are no promoters.
Our duty is to give licences to promoters only. It is the duty of the promoters to apply for licences so that there are professional tournaments,” he said
He said Blow by Blow was another boxing stable which used to promote the sport before it vanished.
“There was also Blow by Blow boxing stable. There used to hold professional tournaments but they just fizzled out,” he said.
He also said the unstable economy over the year had had an impact on sport sponsorship.