Building narratives: Former Commonwealth boxing champion Mosquito shares journey in new biography

Former Commonwealth boxing champion Mosquito shares journey in new biography

RENOWNED former Commonwealth boxing champion Alfonso “Mosquito” Zvenyika has published a biography titled The Champion’s Path–a boxer’s short story of overcoming adversity, which is a powerful and poignant testimony of the struggles many families face in impoverished communities, the ups and downs of the boxing life and his humbling journey to stardom.

In 1998, Zvenyika rose to stardom after knocking out Scottish boxer Paul Weir and has won a number of titles including the Zimbabwean Super Flyweight title and the African Flyweight title.

Zvenyika currently boasts of a solid track record including winning a Commonwealth Flyweight Boxing Championship having launched his career as a professional lightweight boxer in the early 1990s.

Written and published by Justice Dube of Atcumbre Publishers, the book chronicles Zvenyika’s humble beginnings having started his early boxing career by participating in street fights called Wafa Wafa where people would gather to watch fights between those who were confident enough to fight. Despite being small, Zvenyika gained recognition for his fighting skills which earned him the name “Mosquito” for his big punches coupled with his determination to take on and knock down “larger opponents”.

“Zvenyika’s confidence as a fighter grew with each fight won. The fights were not only a form of entertainment but also a way to prove himself to the community. People would gather to watch him fight, chanting his nickname, Mosquito, Mosquito, bite Mosquito”.

At first Zvenyika was offended by the nickname and wanted to beat up anyone who called him that but one night his brother sat him down and explained how the name was not intended as a mockery but as a way of hyping him up for his incredible fighting skills despite his small size and that is how the name became his signature mark in the ring. (pp.62)

 It was in 1992 that he followed his brother Norman’s footsteps and began training with the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) before subsequently winning local championships and representing Zimbabwe abroad.

“As a representative of the army, Zvenyika fought in Beitbridge against Nokuthula Tshabango, a Commonwealth silver medalist in amateur boxing and emerged victorious earning the respect and admiration of his fellow soldiers” (pp,69)

Despite his success fighting under the ZNA, Zvenyika couldn’t join the army because of lack of official documentation. Despite this, he continued to excel in the ring, winning all the local championships and earning a reputation as one of Zimbabwe’s most ferocious fighters.

In the book Zvenyika also shares his championship journey abroad which lands him in countries such as Australia and Scotland and pays special tribute to the role played by Gilbert Josamu his trainer and his manager Mr Mau Mau in ensuring his rise to stardom.

Zvenyika’s narrative is one that is riddled with ups and downs including being born in a very difficult environment that being the high-density suburb of Mbare which came with its own challenges and lessons.

Born into a world plagued with drug abuse, prostitution, theft and violence, and the exploitation of minors, Zvenyika also shares how his own mother fled their own homestead after experiencing domestic violence at the hands of their father.   They later on adjusted to settling in with their new stepmother after his father remarries before subsequently fleeing from cyclical abuse at the hands of their stepmother,

“The boys struggled to form a bond with their new stepmother, and as a result, they often found themselves seeking solace outside their home. Sometimes they would go as far as Mupedzanhamo scavenging for discarded items that they could use as toys. For Norman and Zvenyika, it was a way to escape the bitterness and tension that had taken hold of their home. Their stepmother, however, was not pleased with their newfound freedom and would often beat the boys for venturing too far from home”. (pp.19)

It is against this background that he and his brother later on escape Mbare, headed for Beatrice where they reconnect with their mother.

Having partaken in criminal activities, Zvenyika has encountered prison experiences including being sent to Harare Central Prison before being released in May 2002. He then embarked on a new self-journey of personal recovery and expressed his interest to one day form a boxing academy dedicated to helping young people get rehabilitated through boxing centred activities.

Zvenyika was part of the exhibition fights held in Mabvuku which were held when top American boxing champion Flody Mayweather recently visited the country.

  • Fungai Antony Sox works at Tisu Mazwi –a public relations and communication-centered social enterprise specialising in book publishing, education,research and storytelling projects. He writes in his personal capacity. For feedback contact him on 0776 030 949, connect with him on LinkedIn on Fungayi Antony Sox, or follow him on Twitter @AntonySox

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