Boxing: Tamuka Mucha targeting title victory for Reading
Reading boxer Tamuka Mucha with double Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams
READING welterweight Tamuka Mucha is desperate to pay back the town which has allowed him to live his dream, writes Danny Flexen.
The undefeated Zimbabwe-born fighter followed his mum, a nurse, to Reading aged just 11.
And after overcoming a struggle to shed weight and fit in, he has now developed into a popular athlete on the verge of a British title shot.
Now he wants to be one of the finest boxers to ever come from these parts.
“My big ambition is to become a world champion but the short-term goal is to become British champion and one of Reading’s best,” Mucha, trained by decent 1970s pro Trevor Francis, declared.
“I’ve called out the British champion Bradley Skeete and I hope he responds. I’m back out on April 15 in a keep-busy fight against Rob Hunt, who is quite tall, so he’s good preparation for (the lofty, rangy) Skeete.
“I can learn some things about myself and I can adjust before I fight Skeete.”
Mucha weighed a whopping 105kg at the age of 15 – a love of food compounded by the isolation of being a stranger in a strange land – but boxing proved his saviour and helped him shed almost 40kg en route to his first amateur title.
“I used to go to the gym when I was in high school (now the John Madjeski Academy),” the 24-year-old reflects.
“I got my fitness up then I went to Reading ABC. Everyone was looking at this 105kg 14 or 15-year-old kid and they were like: ‘Oh my goodness, there’s no hope for this kid.’ But I was just determined to be the best I could become.
“It wasn’t just boxing training, the vice-principal at my high school used to take us to the gym once every Friday. I learned to run on a treadmill, then I joined the gym next to my house.”
He continued: “I’d do 20 minutes in the morning, 20 in the evening, then I started increasing my mileage. Once I started boxing I had found something I loved, something I was passionate about and going to the gym became so much easier. Plus I was only about 5ft 5ins then, so not big enough for a heavyweight; I had to lose weight!
“After going to the boxing gym, I was gaining confidence, started making friends and actually enjoying life in the UK.”
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