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MUCHAPONDWA EYES BRITISH BOXING TITLE

United Kingdom-based Zimbabwe boxing sensation Tamuka Muchapondwa (pictured right) will be hoping to further boost his chances of challenging for the highly coveted British welterweight title when he takes on Northern Irishman Paddy Gallagher in a crucial title eliminator next month. BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

Muchapondwa (23), who has racked in 15 straight wins, including four knockouts since turning pro in 2012, will take Gallagher in the biggest fight of his young career at the iconic Wembley Arena in London on November 18.

His fight will be the main undercard for Englishman George Groves’ defence of his World Boxing Council (WBC) International super middleweight title against Germany’s Eduard Gutknecht.

“I think it’s going to be a good fight for both of us and I’m anticipating a tough fight I will be able to win if I train hard and stay focused,” Muchapondwa told Standardsport in an interview yesterday.

“The winner will be in a position to fight for the British title which would mean a lot, especially to me, because becoming the British champion has always been one of my goals on my way to achieving world title honours. I’ve been training hard and will be looking to use the experience that I have learned from training and sparring with world champions like Kell Brook, Lee Selby and Lee Haskins. I think I have the skill set and work ethic that it will take to beat a fighter like Paddy Gallagher who was a Commonwealth gold medalist and a Prizefighter finalist, I’m taking this fight very seriously and I’m training very hard because I want to ensure I come away with my 16th victory and make my fans proud,” he said.

The Reading-based rising boxer, who grew up in Harare’s Glen View high-density surburb before moving to the UK in 2004 at the age of 11, is currently one of the hottest prospects in British boxing.

Muchapondwa is a former British Boxing Board of Control Southern Area champion and boasts of an impressive professional record which includes points wins over the highly-rated English pair of Ryan Toms and Tommy Tear, as well as a knockout triumph over Kenyan-born Eric Ochieng.

Last week he was yet again in superb form as he extended his perfect record to 15-0 with a TKO of Polish brawler Adam Grabiec last Saturday night.

The 23-year-old welterweight dominated the fight at the Dolman Exhibition Hall in Bristol, before the bout was ultimately called off after one minute 58 seconds of the sixth and final round.

The victory was Muchapondwa’s fourth of the year but he will, however, need to be at his best to preserve his perfect record against the 27 year-old Gallagher, who also possesses a solid pro record of 10-2.

Gallagher shot to prominence in 2010 after winning a gold medal in the welterweight division at the 2010 Commonwealth games in India.

Muchapondwa, who is inspired by retired American superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr, recently told Standardsport of his dream to become Zimbabwe’s next world champion after man of the moment Charles Manyuchi.

“My ultimate goal is to become Zimbabwe’s next world champion in the welterweight division in the future,” Muchapondwa declared.

“Zimbabwean boxing has seen a lot of improvement at the moment and I see it continuing to grow because we definitely have the talent. I would love to fight there in the future.”

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