TANZANIA’S boxing wonderboy, Hassan Mwakinyo, over the weekend afforded sports success-starved Tanzanians a smile after beating, on points, his opponent from Philippines, Arnel Tinampay.
The bout had everything one needs to see in boxing; but for the uninitiated, it gave them a lot of problems with most of them believing that the Tanzanian had been unjustly awarded the victory and you can just forgive them.
In boxing, you don’t win a bout through body punches (that are designed to weaken your opponents), but through hitting the target, and in this case, your opponent’s head. Y ou are not, however, allowed to hit your opponent on the back of his or her head, in case of women boxers.
But you can hit your opponent’s front or on his left or right side of his or her head.
If you hit your opponent on the back of his head, you would have some of your points deducted. The same thing would be done to you if you hit your opponent below the belt.
You can only win a bout through body shots, that’s stomach or on his ribs if he fails to continue with the fight and this usually happens to boxers who have not well conditioned themselves to take such body shots.
As already noted, body punches help a lot in wearing down your opponent, especially if he or she is not well conditioned as a boxer.
Tinampay, who comes from Manny Pacquiao’s stable, had numerous body shots against Mwakinyo; unfortunately they could not help him in wearing down the Tanzanian because he has well-conditioned himself.
Indeed, you don’t work under the stable of Warren and lose a fight through body shots.
Therefore, Mwakinyo won that bout because throughout the fight, whenever he hit his opponent, it was always on his head.
Tinampay admitted, after the fight, that he had to chase Mwakinyo throughout the ring and throughout the ten rounds because had he not done that and allowed Mwakinyo to play his game, he would not have lasted the ten rounds.
Now it is not the aim of this column today to revisit the fight, which I have, however, already done, but in order to explain the confusion that has been going on in the country over Mwakinyo’s victory.
What I want to emphasise today is the need for the very well to do Tanzanians and in particular, business men and women to invest their money in boxing.
Tanzania is endowed with untold talent in boxing. In fact, former boxing wonderboy, Matumla who was one of the judges in the Mwakinyo, Tinampay boxing bout over the weekend was spot on when he called on those with money to invest in boxing.
We are all celebrating Mwakinyo’s boxing success, but this is a self-taught young man who got where he is today through sheer personal effort.
Yes, boxing institutions in this country did not do anything to assist Mwakinyo and that is why we were all surprised when he beat that highly ranked Briton.
We were surprised because, one, we did not even know that we had a boxer of such pedigree in this country, and secondly, we were surprised because it took us by surprise; and you can only be taken by surprise if you have not invested in what is unfolding before your eyes.
Therefore to stop these surprises, we now need to be proactive, especially so, our business men and women. They need to invest in boxing and other sports.
The government can for its part invest through training of instructors abroad. We need as many boxing and other sports instructors as possible.
Imagine if we can have 300 instructors who have just had three year training at the Cologne’s sports institute and if we can spread such instructors to our schools and strong clubs like Simba, Young Africans and Azam FC to train boxers and soccer players in their respective academies.
Burundi did that over a decade ago and that explains why we have many Burundi soccer coaches in East and Central Africa.
The Burundian government had invested in soccer for over a decade, and it was not surprising when the tiny central African country qualified, early this year, for the Africa Cup of Nations, Afcon.
The good thing about investment in sports is that the success, for a country, is always instant.
For instance, after Mbwana Samatta’s exploits in the on-going UEF A Champions league, there are more and more Belgians who now know Tanzania and it would be easy for such people to visit Tanzania’s tourist destinations which as we all know are second to none in the world.
But again, as we all know, having tourist destinations which are second to none in the world is not enough. We need to promote such unique tourist destinations to the world if we want to start earning, from tourism, more than 2bn US dollars per annum.
And one of the ways of doing that is investing in sports so that we can get as many Samattas and Mwakinyos as possible.