By Fatima Bulla
ZIMBABWEAN boxer Ali Phiri failed a medical in Johannesburg last week leading to the cancellation of his International Boxing Federation welterweight bout against Phillip Ndou of South Africa, leaving the promoter R50 000 poorer.
Phiri was scheduled to face Ndou, who is nicknamed The Time Bomb, at the Wembley Arena but failed the Hepatitis B and HIV test just before the match leaving Branco Sports Productions to count the costs.
All boxers are supposed to be tested for Hepatitis B and HIV in their countries, which then entitles them to get a licence.
Here the Zimbabwe National Boxing and Wrestling Control Board has to carry out that exercise as mandated to them by the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture.
However, what boggles the mind is how the ZNBWCB gave a licence to a boxer whose medical condition did not satisfy the requirements of international boxing organisations. WBO vice-president Andrew Smale is equally concerned.
“The fight between Ali Phiri and Phillip Ndou was the main supporting bout and the costs were big. The travel costs of the Zimbabwe delegation, which included accommodation, and the opponent for Phiri had already been paid for only to have the Zimbabwean declared medically unfit,” said Smale.
“Now I can tell you that word is getting around and this type of scenario is indeed giving your country a bad name.
“Many top promoters in SA are saying they don’t want to have anything to do with Zimbabwe boxers.
“Namibia has already started to distance itself from your boxers because of what happened there in June this year. Just where is it going to end?”
But ZNBWCB secretary, Patrick Mukondiwa, said Phiri was tested at Chitungwiza Central Hospital and he was certified fit to be given a boxing licence.
Mukondiwa said he personally saw the results.
“What we did was to let boxers get tested at Government hospitals because of our trust in them,” said Mukondiwa.
“When Phiri failed a similar test in Namibia, we were given an impression that they were trying to avoid him. As a result we got him tested again and we did not see anything amiss.”
Mukondiwa said they would now be working with the Trauma Centre that will be responsible for testing the boxers.
“When we work with the Trauma Centre we will be in control because the results will come directly to us,” Mukondiwa said.
Repeated efforts to get a comment from Phiri were fruitless yesterday.