Boxing Snippets

‘Flame of Zimbabwe’ burning bright

‘Flame of Zimbabwe’ burning bright

Next week’s “No Mercy” tournament at Emperors Palace is stacked with talent, but the best of them may be the smallest, most unheralded fighter on the card.
Weighing just 48kg dripping wet, Beaven Sibanda is a mere six fights into his professional journey, but is already drawing comparisons to the likes of Zolani Petelo, Baby Jake Matlala and Simpiwe Konkco.
Such is the faith of Golden Gloves in the 22-year-old protege, they have pitched him in against SA veteran Siphamandla Baleni, who has had 30 fights and is rated number 15 by the World Boxing Council.
“Everybody is over the moon about him,” said promoter Rodney Berman, who knows he is taking a calculated risk, but loves what he sees in Sibanda. “He’s the most exciting strawweight since Baby Jake.”
The way the youngster dominated Mthokozisi Ngxaka in his last fight was impressive, but exactly in line with the trajectory predicted by Brian Mitchell, who can’t stop talking about the flashy Zimbabwean.
“The kid’s dynamite, and definitely has the look of a future world champion. He’s up against the WBC number 15 next weekend, but we have great expectations. It will be a good measure of where he’s at,” said the Hall of Fame fight manager and publicist.
Born and raised in Harare’s Mbare suburb, Sibanda’s first love was karate. He was then drawn to boxing, although he had to fight through the prejudice of critics who said he was too small for the sport.
Unbothered, he pulled on gloves at the age of 15 and hasn’t looked pack.
When he arrived in South Africa his first mentor was Themba Gorimbo, the former diamond miner and EFC champion now campaigning in the UFC. His fellow Zimbabwean showed him the ropes, so to speak, and ensured he found a suitable gym.
Indeed, Sibanda has teamed up with experienced Vusi Mtolo, who loves his work ethic and enjoys training him. Mtolo is expecting a hard fight come June 15, but is typically unconcerned by the challenge. Both he and his boxer have done the work.
“We’ve named him the ‘Flame of Zimbabwe’ on account of the hope and excitement he delivers,” said Berman. “He may well end up the most accomplished boxer to come out of Zimbabwe.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button