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Sibanda Gets Second Chance

Every time she falls, somehow she manages to rise up again.

After losing her last two professional fights, especially the first-round knockout by Chiedza Homakoma in the national lightweight title fight in April, many thought it was the end of veteran female boxer Monalisa Sibanda’s career.

In the aftermath, sponsors and coaches lost their faith in her and deserted her.

But the trailblazing female pugilist has another opportunity to rewrite her history as she takes on Everline Edero at the Treasure Gardens in Nairobi, Kenya, next Saturday.

The fight is a Women’s International Boxing Association (Wiba) super-light- weight world title.

For Sibanda, who recently registered a trust, Dynamite Girls, to identify and cater for young boxers from disadvantaged communities, it is much more than just a fight.

“This upcoming fight is an opportunity to raise funds and resources to finance Dynamite Girls Trust. In a week I could be a world champion again,” she told Standardsport.

“I know if I bring the belt, it would mean a lot for the trust, for the widows, the orphans, the homeless and for Zimbabwe as a whole.

“This world title fight is a promise to the girl child that we can do it. I am happy that there are many women in boxing now and I actually inspired many of them. So, this fight is my life, it’s about Zimbabwe, it’s my answered prayer, my miracle and I am going to do my best.”

Six years ago, Sibanda had an opportunity to claim the Wiba crown, but she lost to Zambian Esther Phiri.

And out of the blue, Wiba through Caleb Kuya of Osaga Promotions in Kenya, decided to give the Zimbabwean another chance.

With new sponsors and a state-of-the-art gym, Sibanda is enjoying a new lease of life.

Even her training regime, no matter how gruelling it is, is far much bearable and enjoyable.

Her day starts with a 10km run, followed by a two-hour boxing workout and later training children in Highfield and Mabvuku. Hopefully, it’s enough to win her a world title.

“After the rejection I had gone through with my former coaches and sponsors, I went home and literally cried. I prayed to God for another chance Now I feel that I can win more titles,” she said.

“Forget about the retirement, I am going to fight on. I will still fight until I raise enough resources for the trust. Dynamite is going to grow.”

Sibanda is being coached by former national champion Fernando “Shinga Chidzo” Tom, who believes that the boxer had lost her identity and fighting style.

“Monalisa had changed her fighting style and now she is back to her fighting way,” Tom said.

“I knew her when she started and I know how good she is, so we are looking forward to a lot of wins. She has at least five more years.

“After winning the Wiba world title this week, we are looking to picking at least four more titles.”

Sibanda expressed her gratitude to her sponsors for the Kenya trip Tarisai Scott Sakupwanya for the air tickets, as well as Kyma Gym for training facilities.

“My biggest interest is the fact that she is a female boxer. Women in sport are either discouraged or are not promoted as much as men,” Otis Goredema said of the boxer.

“For me, it’s a calling to give Mona as much advantage as possible in the sport. I believe she is going to make us proud in Kenya. Just the mere fact that she is going to represent Zimbabwe means she is a winner already.”

Sibanda’s project Dynamite Girls Trust, is a concept she has carried since 2005 and they came up with the idea along with other female boxers back then.

Registered this year, Dynamite Girls Trust has 25 promising young boxers, with some as young as five years old and eight adults.

Sibanda trains the children at the backyard of a friend’s house in Highfield and outside a bar in Mabvuku.

It is her desire to get assistance in getting a piece of land to set up a centre. She has also invited corporates to buy into her vision.

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