Young boxers Joel Mangome (left) and Prince Murengwa after their paperweight division fight at the Mathonisa Beer Garden

Young boxers impress

Raymond Jaravaza
ITa��S been two years since renowned Zimbabwe boxing administrator and coach Petros Masiyambumbi passed away.

But a jewel that he discovered a�� in the form of his grandson Joel Mangome a�� is making steady inroads in the boxing world.

At the time of his death Masiyambumbi was the Zimbabwe Boxing Association technical director. His grandson, 11-year-old Mangome, a Grade Five pupil at Nketa Primary School had shown interest in the sport, an interest developed from watching bouts involving boxers trained by the veteran coach.

The young pugilist may be far from reaching the great heights accomplished by his grandfather but hea��s certainly on the right path.

Last Saturday, he took part in his fifth a�?career bouta�? at Mathonisa Beer Garden in Mpopoma suburb in a Bulawayo Amateur Boxing Association (BABA) organised tournament featuring boxers from different parts of the country.

A total of 38 bouts were fought on the day.

Mangome was up against a fairly younger opponent, nine-year-old Prince Murengwa, a grade three pupil at Chinotimba Primary School in Victoria Falls.

The young pugilists did not disappoint, trading blows to the cheers of the modest crowd although a few women, possibly mothers, preferred to look away as they could not stand the idea of watching young boys throwing punches at each other.

Mangome won the three rounds three-minute bout on superior points.

His mother Estelle Masiyambumbi says shea��s happy the young boxer took after her father, Petros.

a�?My father would be proud that his grandson is following in his footsteps. Boxing runs in the family so I was not surprised that Joel (Mangome) took an interest in the sport at an early age. On Saturday he was fighting his fifth match and he is yet to lose,a�? said Estelle.

Weighing only 27kgs, Mangomea��s opponent Victoria Falls-based Murengwa is a little fighter judging by his enthusiasm to take on an older boxer.

He might have lost the bout but is a boxer to watch out for.

Trainer Tobias Owen Muposiwa said he discovered the young boxer in the bustling high density suburb of Chinotimba in the resort town six months ago.

Murengwa, an avid football player, has not looked back since trading soccer boots for boxing gloves.

a�?I was sceptical about allowing Prince (Murengwa) to take on a boxer much older than him but the boy was adamant he wouldna��t go back to Victoria Falls without going into the ring. He started training with us six months ago and was so eager to get into the ring,a�? said Muposiwa.

a�?Like all school going boxers that I train, school work and home chores come first before training starts for an hour from 6pm during weekdays. We increase training hours on Saturdays and I love working with young enthusiastic boxers like Prince,a�? said the trainer.

The biggest challenge the Victoria Falls boxing academy is facing is a proper boxing ring as the one they are using has seen better days.

The future of Zimbabwean boxing looks bright as long as young boxers like Murengwa and Mangome are inspired to take to the ring.