After holding their first tournament in more than a year, Zimbabwe Boxing Federation technical director Steven Masiyambumbi says they need to channel their efforts more on grassroots development if they are to produce results at major competitions.
The tournament was held in Victoria Falls over the weekend with boxers from different provinces taking part.
The national tournament was the first after more than a year without competition.
“We managed to have 21 bouts. From the 21 bouts we managed to have two female boxers. But overall, the tournament was a success and it gave us an opportunity to actually assess our boxers like our juniors and youth.
“Most of the bouts were for juniors and there was good competition. It showed us that as ZBF we need to put more concentration on juniors.
“In order for us to have medals at Olympic Games, All Africa Games (African Games) especially major Games, we need to be serious in junior development, so that if we start to groom those boxers from grassroots up to elite, we can produce true champions for the country,” said Masiyambumbi.
Boxing was one of the few sport codes that were earmarked to qualify for the Olympics but failed.
Bulawayo and Victoria Academy dominated the tournament.
Some of the highlights were Bulawayo’s Ndabezinhle Phiri beating Mandlenkosi Marusenga of Masvingo in the bantamweight category on points.
Mollen Hunda from Bulawayo as well overpowered Lloyd Muchibilikwa in the welterweight division.
Cilemeko Mudenda, Melusi Chigango and Prince Urengwa all from Victoria Falls Academy were among the winners from the tournament.
Juliat Sibanda beat Chantel Sibanda, in one of the two female bouts, to win the lightweight category.
While Masiyambumbi was impressed with the juniors but he expressed concern over the few numbers of female boxers in the sport.
“I don’t know why but most countries have good female boxers, our challenge as Zimbabwe is that some of the parents or guardians and as a country in general we take boxing as a sport for men, forgetting that even for ladies if we give them the opportunity they can represent the country and win medals.
“So we are encouraging all provinces, even coaches to start also putting effort in that area, so that we have more female boxers. It also motivates the few that we have,” Masiyamumbi said.
The national federation has lined up another tournament for May 29 in Victoria Falls again, where they are hoping to invite foreign boxers.