ZIMBABWE rising boxer Aliyah "Lantso" Phiri has promised fireworks ahead of his bout against Malawian Israel "Money Machine" Kamwamba for the African Boxing Union (ABU) lightweight title fight today at 7 Arts Theatre, Avondale.
Dubbed "The Battle of Champions", the 12 round title fight is expected to attract boxing enthusiasts.
This will be the first time that Zimbabwe has hosted the ABU title fight.
Today's winner will earn stars to challenge for the World Boxing Council (WBC) belt.
The 23-year-old Phiri, from Otto Boxing Academy stable, is standing at (W6-L2-D0) while his opponent has a (W13-L10-D1) record.
However, Phiri is unfazed by his opponent's record and believes he has what it takes to become the fourth Zimbabwean pugilist to claim this title. Legend Charles Manyuchi was the last Zimbabwean holder of the title in 2013.
Speaking at the weigh-in event yesterday, ABU representative John Chagu encouraged the boxers to use this opportunity as a stepping stone to challenge for better belts in future.
"As for the belt which is scheduled for tomorrow (today) for the ABU title, we anticipate a good match from all boxers. As we understand that professional boxing is sport, at the same time. It is entertainment. It is not a fight to show some other areas of interest, but we go there to entertain and show talent," Chagu said.
“ABU had introduced another belt which is WBC Africa last year in Victoria Falls... I expect professional boxing from both of you tomorrow (Phiri and Kamwamba). What I'm encouraging you is that from here, you vie for WBC Africa and that belt is very strong. Don't go for cheap belts, go for belts that give you value and lift you up. We are not fighting for prestige but also to be elevated and gain something out of it. This is your opportunity from here, go for WBC Africa, I wish you all the best tomorrow."
Chagu also implored for fairness from the officials present to keep the sport professional.
Both boxers were within the title fight weight range of 61kg as Phiri weighed 60,9 kg while Kamwamba weighed 59,8kg.