Zmart Mall in Ndola is the epicenter of tomorrow’s nine-fight card laid on by three boxing promotions namely Oriental, Exodus and Mitanda with top of the bill featuring Alfred Muwowo versus Haji Juma for the vacant African Boxing Union (ABU) flyweight title.
This will be Muwowo’s first attempt at a continental title. He boasts an 83 per cent KO ratio from six fights while his opponent Tanzania’s 37-year-old Juma has compiled a record of 18 wins 10 losses and five draws and a 30 per cent KO ratio from 33 bouts.
The explosive and hard-hitting young Zambian goes into this fight with a pristine 6-0 record from which he has tallied five knockouts and one win on a unanimous points decision.
His last victim was Anyway Katunga of Zimbabwe whom he stopped on a technical knockout in his backyard Harare last October 10. Muwowo’s opponent is more experienced and is not new to title fights, though he has never won any.
Muwowo will need to go into the fight with controlled aggression and grit, throwing those punches in bunches he is noted for if he must subdue the veteran Juma. But at no point should Muwowo underrate his opponent because boxers who do so often pay the price.
He should be aware or conscious that Zambians want him to be the champion tomorrow and bring pride and glory to the country. More importantly, a win for him will open opportunities to challenge for world titles.
For his part, Juma will be looking to defy the odds which on paper appear heavily stacked against him; he’s a massive underdog. It’s hard to see how he will fend off the fighting machine called Muwowo. I get the sense that Juma’s punch resistance or durability will wane by round 10 round if not earlier.
Fans can also look forward to the return to the ring of two former WBC champions Catherine Phiri and Charles Manyuchi in separate bouts. Both fighters, will be seeking to prove to their fans, and I’m one of them, that in boxing you win some and lose some, but that if you stumble, you can pick yourself up.
Catherine will trade leather with Tanzania’s Flora Machelo, 28, who goes into this non-title fight with a 44 per cent KO ratio with four losses in her last six fights, including her last fight in February this year. Machelo is a replacement for Matshidiso Mokebisi of South Africa who was originally Cathy’s opponent.
This one should keep the fans on edge as I see Catherine unleashing her double jabs she often uses to good effect and the one-two combos. Machelo started her eight-year career with impressive KO wins over her first four opponents, but over the years her performance has kept sliding.
The last time she won a fight was in 2014 on points. I predict a competitive fight at first, but Catherine will take over and walk away with a dominant win.
On the other hand, Manyuchi will hopefully just focus on his opponent Congolese Sherif Kasongo fighting out of Exodus Boxing Promotions and cut out the show-boating that appears to affect his concentration.
This will be two pugilists who share a 50 KO ratio. Kasongo who started his pro career nine years ago, goes into the fight with one loss from his last six.
Manyuchi has one loss from his last six fights the latest coming earlier this year when he lost to Quadratillo Abduqaxorov in Singapore. This, too, should be a thriller which could go either way, though instinct tells me Manyuchi has a slight edge because the quality of opposition he has faced so far.