Newly-crowned African Boxing Union (ABU) super lightweight champion a 21-year-old Anisha Bashir has been given K 1 million cash for winning the title following a technical knockout (TKO) ninth-round victory over Kenyan Consolota Musanga in Nairobi, Kenya.
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Samuel Tembenu presented the cash to Bashir on behalf of the Cabinet Ministers Wednesday at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
He said the cash was raised by all Cabinet Ministers after they were informed by the Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Francis Kasaila that Bashir had won the title bout in Kenya.
Tembenu explained that the country needs to start recognizing the success individual athletes are making by honouring them.
The Minister pointed out that the success of Bashir is not only meant for her but for the country, hence the decision by the Cabinet ministers to contribute something to thank her.
“This is not a mean achievement, it is worth recognizing. We need to applaud Bashir for her success and encourage her to aim high in her boxing career,” he pointed out.
Tembenu urged all other athletes, particularly female, to work hard so that the country shall have more champions in various sports disciplines in the country.
“I would like to request both athletes and concerned officials to continue taking sporting activities seriously so that the country continues to be a sporting nation and a nation of champions,” he added.
In his remarks, Kasaila hailed fellow Cabinet ministers for responding favourably after being requested to contribute to honour the lady boxer.
He said the achievement Bashir has registered in the boxing circles has put the country on the map and this could not be ignored by his Ministry.
Kasaila viewed that Bashir’s achievement could be used to encourage other young girls to venture into boxing as a career, as one way of promoting the sport in the country.
“We need to appeal to the private sector and individuals to invest in various sporting disciplines in the country and they need to view sports as business, not only as a marketing tool for the products,” the Minister of Sports highlighted.
Malawi Professional Boxing Control Board, Lonzoe Zimba commended government for the continued support in promoting boxing in the country by encouraging women to view it as their sport.
He said the Board have been impressed with the gesture the cabinet minister has shown to honour the young lady boxer for her achievement.
African Boxing Union Lightweight Champion, Bashir thanked the Cabinet Ministers for honouring her, saying this is great encouragement for her to do more for the nation.
She urged fellow women to look at boxing as a sport not as man’s game adding that there are more opportunities for ladies by associating themselves with the sport.
Minister of Gender, Children, Disabilities and Social Welfare, Jean Kalilani who was among the other two Cabinet Ministers, presented a piece of cloth to Bashir.
Anisha’s promoter Craig Rousseau, who accompanied the boxer, said girl is the “pride of the nation”, as she has brought a gold medal and she is the champion of Africa.
The lady boxer, a resident of Area 23 in Lilongwe, has won seven fights and lost five. She will have to defend her title in three months’ time. She said however that her aim was to win the World Boxing Council title WBC.
Bashir is based in South Africa after she secured sponsorship to pursue her boxing career.
The ABU champion said following her success at continental level, she has now set her eyes on the World Boxing Council (WBC) title.