10 August 2017

Zimbabwe: Muchapondwa Braces for Tough Fight

Zimbabwe-born boxer Tamuka Muchapondwa is set to step back into the ring on September 9 for what is likely to be one of the toughest fights in his promising career in England.

Muchapondwa, the 24-year-old welterweight prospect who was born in Harare before he moved to Reading, the Berkshire town he has called home for the best part of the last 13 years, will take on veteran British boxer John O'Donnell at the York Hall in London.

The fight is the final eliminator for the British welterweight title and Muchapondwa.

"Saturday, September 9 sees me step up in the biggest fight of my career against veteran John O'Donnell at York Hall in London - this fight is also the final eliminator for the British title and is sure (going) to be a spectacle!" Muchapondwa wrote on his Facebook wall on Sunday.

He followed his mother, a nurse, to Reading from Harare aged just 11. He has engaged the services of British Olympic silver medallist Fred Evans for some "top quality sparring sessions" at St Joseph Boxing Club in Newport in preparation for the September 9 date with London-based O'Donnell.

"On September 9, I'm coming for what's mine," said Muchapondwa, who is following in the footsteps of fellow Zimbabwe-born UK-based pugilist Derick Chisora who once fought for the British heavyweight title and even had a shot at the world title against the recently retired Wladimir Klitschko.

When asked by The Herald yesterday on whether he still consider himself as a Zimbabwean or British boxer and whose flag he will be fighting under, Muchapondwa did not want to say much. "I hadn't thought about the flag yet but it's something to consider and preparations have been very good. After this fight I will be in a position to fight for the British title."

Muchapondwa is also receiving some enormous support from Team Zimbabwe (UK) chief executive, Marshall Gore, who confirmed London yesterday that they were "basically working with him, supporting him with (his) PR (public relations)", ahead of the big fight.

He (Muchapondwa) goes into the ring on September 9 with a good record of 16 wins (four KO's) and one defeat. But he is likely to get his hands full against the 32-year-old O'Donnell (32-2 KO11) who was once described as "arguably the most avoided British boxer".

O'Donnell is a London-based Irish professional boxer who is a former holder of the Commonwealth welterweight championship between April 11, 2009 and April 16, 2010.

A series of experienced fighters have turned down the chance to face O'Donnell, who has a growing army of admirers. He had a stellar junior amateur career, claiming Olympic gold and two ABA titles, and has racked up more than 14 wins as a professional with his slick southpaw style and "machine gun" combinations.

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