Zambia: Mwamba Key to His Ban - Reactions

LAST week's piece in this column titled "Mwamba key to his ban" has provoked two reactions I received this past week.

The first was from Zambia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (ZPBWCB) secretary Ben Saili followed by the other, a telephone call, from an official close to the board, but who chose to speak on condition of anonymity.

To recap, I said I was shocked about the three-month ban of Exodus Boxing Promotions director Anthony Mwamba, who had become something of a model, achieving run-away success training and promoting multi-division titlist Esther Phiri who should be the envy of others of his ilk on the local boxing scene.

According to the charge sheet, Mwamba was guilty of being an unrepentant offender who allegedly defamed the secretary, the board, its officials and, by extension, the minister of youth and sport through unguarded media statements.

Mwamba was also found to have been operating a boxing stable without a licence, a breach of section 8 of the Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Act, while also abrogating section 11; subsection 1 (k) of the Act.

I also made reference to a case involving WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr whose jail term for a domestic battery misdemeanour was delayed by a month on appeal by his lawyers.

In his response to the article, Saili wrote: "Hi, Simon, I read your article and I have nothing against what you have said. However, the charge sheet goes beyond what meets the eye.

"The American legal system is very different from ours and allows for people who have been convicted to begin their sentences at a (later date, brackets mine). The board was extremely lenient with the penalty given to Mwamba because he could have been heading to jail as prescribed by the law.

"He has been given an opportunity to appeal using the right procedure as stipulated by law. The matter is now in Anthony's hands or the Minister of Sport to whom his appeal should be made as stipulated by the law.

"Anthony has been setting a bad precedent by not meeting statutory obligations from the time he started promoting boxing. The Government depends on taxes to run. Boxing depends on boxing taxes to run."

Saili said he could not blame Mwamba because "the administrators at the time didn't do their job." This is exactly the view the anonymous official expressed to me. He said the board was failing to guide promoters and it was "grossly" unfair to ban Mwamba at this time, asking, "where were they all along?"

The official said what the board had done was vengeful in that they only decided to act after Mwamba had attacked them. "The board is really trying to jeopardise Mwamba's future. Look, he has lost his main source of income- boxers, Esther and Kennedy Kanyanta who will not fight any more and now they are banning the man. Does it make sense to you?" he asked.

The official said when Mwamba was being sponsored by national Milling Company during Peter Cottan's tenure as managing director, the board chose not to touch Mwamba, but now that they have seen he's alone, they want to finish him off. "This is very cruel."

Saili said professional boxing in Zambia was run based on an Act of parliament and that is the law of the land. "If Anthony doesn't pay taxes, what message does it send to the rest of the country?

"Isolate the bad egg and let the system run properly. Are you telling me that boxing will not survive without Anthony or that punishment is bad for Anthony? I am sure you have been following the Lance Armstrong case and what it has brought to the fore."

"Esther as a professional boxer, Saili said, had a choice; she could wait out Anthony's suspension or find another trainer in the meantime or do something else within the boxing environment or even retire.

"After all Anthony is the Women International Boxing Association representative in Zambia and can influence an extension on her mandatory defence."

But the anonymous official said the board was aware that Esther, for some reason, is unlikely to fight again. Saili said in the past, the board requested individual boxer development plans from all the registered stables, but "we never received any plans from Mr Mwamba on Esther or indeed any other boxer that he manages."

He said the board was shocked that after being suspended, Mwamba suddenly had plans for Esther.

"I do not want to appear as a rabble rouser, but how will we be perceived by the rest of the boxing fraternity that we impose levies on the rest of them and don't do the same for Anthony?" mwale.simon@yahoo.co.uk/0966 755 574

LAST week's piece in this column titled "Mwamba key to his ban" has provoked two reactions I received this past week.

The first was from Zambia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (ZPBWCB) secretary Ben Saili followed by the other, a telephone call, from an official close to the board, but who chose to speak on condition of anonymity.

To recap, I said I was shocked about the three-month ban of Exodus Boxing Promotions director Anthony Mwamba, who had become something of a model, achieving run-away success training and promoting multi-division titlist Esther Phiri who should be the envy of others of his ilk on the local boxing scene.

According to the charge sheet, Mwamba was guilty of being an unrepentant offender who allegedly defamed the secretary, the board, its officials and, by extension, the minister of youth and sport through unguarded media statements.

Mwamba was also found to have been operating a boxing stable without a licence, a breach of section 8 of the Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Act, while also abrogating section 11; subsection 1 (k) of the Act.

I also made reference to a case involving WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr whose jail term for a domestic battery misdemeanour was delayed by a month on appeal by his lawyers.

In his response to the article, Saili wrote: "Hi, Simon, I read your article and I have nothing against what you have said. However, the charge sheet goes beyond what meets the eye.

"The American legal system is very different from ours and allows for people who have been convicted to begin their sentences at a (later date, brackets mine). The board was extremely lenient with the penalty given to Mwamba because he could have been heading to jail as prescribed by the law.

"He has been given an opportunity to appeal using the right procedure as stipulated by law. The matter is now in Anthony's hands or the Minister of Sport to whom his appeal should be made as stipulated by the law.

"Anthony has been setting a bad precedent by not meeting statutory obligations from the time he started promoting boxing. The Government depends on taxes to run. Boxing depends on boxing taxes to run."

Saili said he could not blame Mwamba because "the administrators at the time didn't do their job." This is exactly the view the anonymous official expressed to me. He said the board was failing to guide promoters and it was "grossly" unfair to ban Mwamba at this time, asking, "where were they all along?"

The official said what the board had done was vengeful in that they only decided to act after Mwamba had attacked them. "The board is really trying to jeopardise Mwamba's future. Look, he has lost his main source of income- boxers, Esther and Kennedy Kanyanta who will not fight any more and now they are banning the man. Does it make sense to you?" he asked.

The official said when Mwamba was being sponsored by national Milling Company during Peter Cottan's tenure as managing director, the board chose not to touch Mwamba, but now that they have seen he's alone, they want to finish him off. "This is very cruel."

Saili said professional boxing in Zambia was run based on an Act of parliament and that is the law of the land. "If Anthony doesn't pay taxes, what message does it send to the rest of the country?

"Isolate the bad egg and let the system run properly. Are you telling me that boxing will not survive without Anthony or that punishment is bad for Anthony? I am sure you have been following the Lance Armstrong case and what it has brought to the fore."

"Esther as a professional boxer, Saili said, had a choice; she could wait out Anthony's suspension or find another trainer in the meantime or do something else within the boxing environment or even retire.

"After all Anthony is the Women International Boxing Association representative in Zambia and can influence an extension on her mandatory defence."

But the anonymous official said the board was aware that Esther, for some reason, is unlikely to fight again. Saili said in the past, the board requested individual boxer development plans from all the registered stables, but "we never received any plans from Mr Mwamba on Esther or indeed any other boxer that he manages."

He said the board was shocked that after being suspended, Mwamba suddenly had plans for Esther.

"I do not want to appear as a rabble rouser, but how will we be perceived by the rest of the boxing fraternity that we impose levies on the rest of them and don't do the same for Anthony?"

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