Chiwandire's night of riches

Kudakwashe Chiwandire

THE wait was not in vain after all.

Kudakwashe Chiwandire retained her World Boxing Council silver title in style after a unanimous points decision win over Mexico’s Zulina Munoz, thereby moving one step towards the WBC gold title.

The Zimbabwean had all the three judges in her favour after knocking down Munoz in the fourth and fifth rounds before weathering off Munoz’s backlash that also saw Chiwandire herself sent to the canvas in the sixth round.

The judges had 96-92, 98-89 and 100-86, in favour of the Zimbabwean, an illustration of how Chiwandire dominated the 10-round super bantamweight contest.

Buoyed on by a huge crowd, Chiwandire dominated the first five rounds with perfect-inch combinations and pinpoint uppercuts but would surely admit that she was praying for the fight to quickly end as Munoz fought back strongly especially in the seventh, eighth and ninth round with the two boxers appearing a bit tired in the final round.

Chiwandire could not let down such boxing legends as promoter Stalin Mau Mau, former Commonwealth champion Zvenyika Arifonso and the great Charles Manyuchi, who all came in to render support.

In fact, Manyuchi is the only other Zimbabwean boxer to win the WBC silver belt, followed in the order of greatness by the late great Langton Schoolboy Tinago who won three Commonwealth titles at three different weight divisions.

Speaking after the fight, Chiwandire could not hide her joy and thanked the government who came to the rescue as the fight was at the verge of being called off due to financial constraints.

"I would like to thank the government, if it was not them , I woudn't have achieved this. As I was preparing for this fight, I thought it was going to be an easy fight but as you witnessed-Munoz is not an easy boxer," said Chiwandire.

"As for me I'm now getting more exprience because I'm fighting exprienced boxers so, thank you Zimbabwe. I feel great because I'm the only female boxer in Africa holding this title and I'm raising the country's flag high. I'm not going to stop here but continue raising the flag higher. As I was preparing for this fight, I wasn't only preparing for this fight but for the next fight also."

Overwhelmed by Chiwandire’s all round display, the deputy minister of sport, arts and recreation, Tino Machakaire and Harare businessman Wicknell Chivhayo both pledged $10 000 each for Chiwandire.

In fact, Chiwandire will be smiling all the way to the bank as she will also get an extra $20 000 which the Zimbabwean government dangled for the winner of the fight.

Chiwandire also bagged another US$1000 which was offered by her sponsors Zororo-Phumulani, the leading funeral and repatriations service provider based in South Africa ahead of the fight.

The win improved Chiwandire’s overall boxing record to six wins in nine contests with two losses and a draw.

However, there is a much bigger reward for overcoming Munoz as Chiwandire now gets the chance to challenge Yemilethi Mercado, also Mexico, for the WBC gold belt, the ultimate prize in the WBC family.

The Vice President of the WBC who is also the president of the Africa Boxing Union Houcine Houichi, revealed that by beating Munoz, Chiwandire was now the mandatory challenger to Mercado.

“When I was in camp, I was preparing for Mercado and not for Munoz. I knew, Munoz would not stand me, in my home country. The focus is now on the bigger picture ahead, and that is beating Mecardo, “ said Chiwandire.

Yet Chiwandire was on the verge of losing her belt without fighting for it, after her title defence against Munoz was called off twice due to non-availability of funds until the Zimbabwean government came to her rescue.

After winning the WBC title and defending it the same year, Chiwandire is now favourite for the crown of Zimbabwe Sportsperson of the Year.

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