RISING Zimbabwean boxing sensation Tamuka Muchapondwa further underlined his growing status as one of the finest welterweight boxers in the United Kingdom with a hard-fought victory over Northern Irishman Paddy Gallagher in a crucial British title eliminator on Friday evening. BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The 23-year-old Reading-based fighter put on a boxing masterclass in what was probably the biggest fight of his young career at the iconic Wembley Arena in London to stretch his record to 16 straights victories since turning pro in 2012.
With very little between the two, Muchapondwa, who was on the front foot throughout the gruelling 10-round fight, did just about enough to deserve the unanimous points decision victory.
One judge gave it a 95-95 draw, but crucially the other two gave it 97-94 to Muchapondwa, whose goal is to become Zimbabwe’s next world champion after man of the moment Charles Manyuchi.
“It was a great fight. I feel amazing, this is exactly what we prepared for; we knew the first three to four rounds were going to be dangerous so we were willing to take it easy in those rounds . . . He’s had never gone the distance with anybody noteworthy and I knew that was going to play to my advantage,” he said after the fight.
Muchapondwa, who grew up in Harare’s Glen View high-density surburb before moving to the UK in 2004 at the age of 11, said he had now set his sights on challenging for the British Welterweight title currently held by Bradley Skeete.
“Now that I’ve dealt with Paddy, I hope to get bigger fights. I’m ready to challenge for the British title… I feel I’ve now dealt with someone who is at that level; now is the right time to me the step up and get it on with Bradley Skeete. He’s the champion and he’s got everything everyone wants, which are the belts, so I want to get my hands on those belts,” he declared.
Muchapondwa’s fight against Gallagher was the main undercard for Englishman George Groves’ defence of his World Boxing Council international super middleweight title against Germany’s Eduard Gutknecht.
Groves scored a unanimous points win and moves closer to a shot at the vacant WBA super-middleweight title before Gutknecht was taken to hospital after falling ill in his changing room.