Sports Council and the National Professional Boxing Committee (NPBC) have said they will investigate reasons for the failure of local top female boxer Agnes Mtimaukanenaâ€™s international title bout against a Ugandan opponent Shabilla Namaaga.
Â Mtimaukanena was scheduled to defend her World Boxing Forum (WBF) lightweight title or fight for the Universal Boxing Organisation (UBO) belt at Robinâ€™s Park last Friday evening, but her opponent did not show up for unexplained reasons.
However, the other WBF junior welterweight bout between Wellingtone Balakasi and Tanzanian Allan Kamote took place at the same venue.
Council executive secretary George Jana and NPBC chairperson Lonzoe Zimba said they were concerned with the boutâ€™s failure and will demand a report from the organisers, Ngumi Boxing Promotions (NBP).
Said Jana: â€œWe have in the past insisted that you cannot bring in a foreign boxer without governmentâ€™s clearance through Sports Council.
â€œUnfortunately, the organisers continue to ignore that order and worse still there are disagreements between Malawi Boxing Association (Maba) and the (NPBC) which makes the situation even more difficult.â€
â€œPeople, therefore, have every reason to feel cheated and it is a disappointment. Nevertheless, we shall institute investigations and get to the bottom of the issue.â€
On his part, Zimba said he, too, was surprised to learn during weigh-in (a day before the fight) that the Ugandan boxer had not arrived.
â€œA foreign boxer is supposed to arrive at least four days before an international bout. Further to that, when I asked for copies of the contracts for the bouts, I realised that there was none for the Ugandan boxer, which also raised my suspicion,â€ said Zimba.
He said when he tried to inquire from the organiser Stevie Msiska, he was assured that the Ugandan boxer was on her way.
â€œI found it strange that on the eve of the bout, she was still not in the country. I had serious reservations. But we will now ask the organisers to submit a report because there were people who felt cheated,â€ said Zimba.
Msiska yesterday admitted erring on logistics.
â€œWe arranged all the logistics for the boxersâ€™ travel through Omari Yazidu, who is a coach and was also the match maker. They actually gave us an assurance that the Ugandan boxer was on her way, but we were surprised that only Kamote arrived the night before the bouts.
â€œI should admit that in terms of logistics we erred, but these are some of the challenges we encounter. We apologise to the fans and we ask them to bear with us,â€ said Msiska.
Asked if he had confirmed that Namaaga had actually travelled from Uganda, Msiska said: â€œWe were in touch with her team and we got an assurance that she was on her way, but when we learnt that she was at the border [Songwe] a night before the bout, we decided to cancel the fight.
â€œIn fact, even Agnes was disappointed and we are trying to organise another fight for her on October 28 to make up for the hitch,â€ said Msiska.
He dismissed suggestions that it was a ploy to woo people to grace the fight.
â€œIt is just unfortunate that things turned out that way. There was nothing sinister and that is why Kamote showed up,â€ he insisted.