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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dar trainer plans to turn boxing fortunes around

Dar es Salaam

It goes without questioning that a lot has been said on a deplorable condition that professional boxing, and the sport of boxing in general, is in.

The sport's stakeholders, just like their fellows in other sports disciplines that struggle to attract support, have, for years, been wishing to see their beloved sport win the much needed attention, which could ultimately guarrantee successful revival and promotion.

Much as domestic professional boxing has been encountering plenty of difficulties, the sport's die-hard stakeholders have hardly lost hope on realiozing achievements that they have painfully been fighting for.

Rajabu Mhamila 'Super D' , a former professional boxer and presently an internationally recognized boxing coach, is among the sport's stakeholders that are in the best position to describe how the game has suffered years of neglect, despite the stakeholders' attempt to turn around the sport's fortunes.

Mhamila, who coaches Ashanti Boxing Club situated in Ilala, Dar es Salaam, is adamant that boxing has yet to be accorded the respect and support it deserves, although it is one of a few sports that have managed to win the country honours in prestigious international events.

The difficulties that he and the rest of the sport's stakeholders are encountering in their efforts to successfully promote the game have, surprisingly, made him more determined to exploit whatever opportunity that comes his way to raise the sport''s profile.

He has been spending the better part of his time training up-and-coming professional boxers, apart from giving them opportunity to regularly participate in bouts so that they could gain experience.

In a recent interview with The Citizen, Mhamila disclosed that he holds two boxing coaching certificates following successful participation in courses conducted by the Olympic Solidarity and the Boxing Federation of Tanzania (BFT).

"I successfully completed the International Olympic Committee (IOC)-sanctioned boxing techniques coaching course, conducted by the vOlympic Solidarity, and the BFT's level 1 basic boxing coaching course in 2010", he said.

He expressed pride in actively playing part in the promotion of the sport, with a tour of 11 regions aiming at promoting boxing being his most recent .

"I toured 11 regions in an attempt to attract more youths to the sport and the tour was extremely successful. I deiscovered there are a lot of talented, young boxers, as well as plenty of youths that have shown interest in participating in the sport", he said.

"I am the first domestic boxing coach to post a boxing training clip on You Tube. I also own a website that is dedicated to prromoting boxing in and outside the country", he added.

Super D noted that some of the setbacks that professional boxing, and boxing in general, encounter are caused by the very stakeholders of the game. Failure by some of the domestic boxing coaches to make full use of their profession is one of boxing's pitfalls, he said.

"The problem with some of the boxing coaches is they hardly make use of their profession and the tendence surely stifles boxing's progress. I urge them to put their skills to use for the sake of effective promotion of the sport", he said.
Super D's Ashanti Boxing Club is proud of having successfully groomed promising domestic professional boxers including Iddi Mnyeke and Ibrahim Class 'King Class Mawe, who have wowed boxing followers with impressive displays in bouts they have recently taken part in.

The twwo boxers had encouraging results in recent bouts they had played, in which Mnyeke's six-round, non-title fight against Morogoro's Cosmas Cheka at Msasani Club in January ended in draw, whereas Class outperformed Mustafa Dotto and garnered a unanimous decision's victory in another non-title bout held the same day.

In a bid to sustain successful promotion of boxing, Mhamila has also ventured in the selling of the sport's equipment, which include gum protector, gloves, head gear and bandages. He, as well, sells DVDs that feature high profile bouts involving renowned world champions including Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto.

"I also hire some of the equipment to boxers, when the latter are about to participate in bouts. Most of the domestic professional boxers, however, are strapped for cash, thus, they normally struggle to pay me", he said.

"My equipment has been used in almost all recent professional boxing bouts in Darr es Salaam. I have hired the equipment out to a handful of renowned domestic professional boxers, including Fadhil Majia, Japhet Kaseba, Karama Nyilawila and Thomas Mashali...some of them do pay me after the bouts but others do not", he added.

"I also award some of promising, young professional boxers the equipment in a bid to inspire them work harder and excel in the sport", he said.

He disclosed that he hardly do business with domestic boxing promoters, claiming that most of them are dishonest.

"Boxing promoters normally do not buy the equipment. The fact that they (promoters) do not organize bouts on regular basis forces them to avoid buying the equipment, given that it faces the prospects of remaining unused for a long time and lose its quality in the process", he said. 

"A promoter needs at least four pairs of gloves for one event and the four pairs presently cost sh. 300, 000. For that matter, he feels it is better concentrate on paying the boxers and let the lsatter hire the equipment on their own expenses", he added.

Mhamila said he dreams of realizing tremendous success in the profession akin to the achievement that prominent British boxing promoter, Frank Warren, enjoys.

"Apart from being one of the most successful boxing promoters, Warren has made fortune from the boxing equipment business in such a way that he now owns a Television station", Mhamila said.

He has further joined a handful of other domestic boxing stakeholders in insisting for serious investment in the sport,
which will cover, among others, infrastructure.

"Presently, for instance, boxing bouts are held either in bars or halls that have specially been built to host conferences. We do not have a modern venue for hosting boxing bouts", he said.

He said there is a huge need for a modern indoor stadium, which will include a boxing venue, adding that efforts should also  be done to realize construction of modern gyms for boxers.

"Most of the gyms we have in the country are below standard and the facilities' owners are more concerned with gaining maaximum profit than promoting the game", he said. 

Germany, he noted, has about 800 modern gyms for boxers and that says a lot on the country's determination as far as developing the sport is concerned.

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