World Boxing site ratifies Harry Simon Zim verdict

Boxrec adopted the Zimbabwe sanction board’s ruling to nullify Harry Simon Jr’s loss to Aliyah Phiri. Photo: Contributed

Boxrec, the internationally-renowned official portal for boxing records, has ratified the “no contest” decision by the Zimbabwe National Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (ZNBWCB) in the Harry Simon Jr-Aliyah Phiri Harare contest.

Latest updates on the site show Boxrec adopted the Zimbabwe sanction board’s ruling and pulled down results that earlier indicated victory for Phiri.

Simon Jr and Phiri squared off in Harare on 14 July 2023, with the judges awarding victory to the Zimbabwean and marking the first defeat for Simon Jr in 21 fights.

However, his American handlers, Lion Heart Boxing Productions, queried the outcome citing flawed procedures surrounding the match.

To that effect, the ZNBWCB was compelled to convene an arbitration process that saw the Namibian boxer get a favourable ruling.

The development has seen Phiri lose half a star and fall from number 67 out of 2 309 lightweights in the world to position 105.

This has not gone down well with his management at Otto Boxing Club, who yesterday took to social media to vent their dissatisfaction: “Finally our boxing board have decided to call it a no contest … that fight between Aliya and Harry Simon.

“Boxrec have removed half a star and from number 67 in the world we have gone back to number 105, inshaAllah we’ll rise again.”

Meanwhile, boxing stakeholders in Zimbabwe have raised the red flag following the ruling by the arbitrator and subsequent rubber-standing of the ruling, questioning why it is in favour of a foreign boxer at the expense of a local and continental champion.

They feel domestic boxing authorities are not doing enough to protect their own fighters, as is the norm with other countries, and that the hard work put in by the local boxer, also an African Boxing Union champion at lightweight division, will all but go down the drain.

This has raised the ire of the local boxing fraternity with a platform, Boxing Business Contacts flooded with comments for a whole 48 hours, uninterruptedly, on the matter.

Despite claims by Lion Heart about matters such as weight differences of the boxers and the fight not having gone the distance (among other complaints), the local stakeholders argue why the bout was allowed to go ahead in the first place.

They also question what would have happened had Simon Jnr won the fight.

Issues have also been raised about a good number of Zimbabwean boxers who have been robbed of fights in regional countries such as Namibia itself and Malawi on a home decision basis.

Former ZNBWCB member and general secretary Thomas Kambuyi took to the social media platform to say that “taking the arbitrator’s route is an admission of guilt on the part of the ZNBWCB.”

“It was supposed to deal with the matter on its own. They should have fought commissioners appointed by board members. So this practice of having workers from the secretariat presiding over this is what gets us where we are now. There may have been misdemeanour’s on the part of the promoter or the Phiri and Simon camps, but the board has the final say,” he says.

Kambuyi says the 3kg weight difference is permissible, but questions why the fight was sanctioned if it was known that there was no board official and no member of the secretariat present at weigh in.

“We have had the same scenario happening where some boxers contest decisions and the board deals with such,” he says.

“They even encourage you to take the arbitrator’s route yet they know the matter would have already been concluded. Cases like Tawanda Chigwida versus Jeremiah Chiyangwa, Peter Pambeni and Simon Ngoma, Peter Pambeni versuss Phillip Musariri and others are cases in point,” Kambuyi says.

He says the board should be seen protecting its boxers.

“My appeal to stakeholders is for us to uphold unity and let this be a lesson as we have disadvantaged our upcoming champion, Aliyah. In the first place, is Lion Heart’s licence within the confines of the law? Do the laws of the country allow for the issuance of licences to foreigners?” he asks.

While the Phiri camp insisted they had shockingly learnt about the verdict in the press, ZNBWCB programmes manager Moreways Changa says: “They have been copied in the same email that was sent to all concerned parties.”

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