By Sports Reporter
SPORTS minister Kirsty Coventry has hailed Zimbabwean boxer Brendon “Boika” Denes who lifted the country’s flag high by becoming the new World Boxing Organisation (WBC) Africa welterweight champion last weekend.
The 25-year-old Denes, who is a member of the Charles Manyuchi Academy, overcame Mikka Shonena of Namibia at the Windhoek Country Club Resort on December 12.
Denes, a former student at Great Zimbabwe University defeated the highly fancied Namibian who went into the fight undefeated in 16 fights.
With the latest knockout victory, Denes improved his professional record to eight wins with five knockouts. His opponent had not lost a fight before Saturday’s defeat and stood on 16 fights all wins with three knockouts.
His heroics earned him praises from Sports Minister Coventry, who was the guest of honour at a reception function for the new WBO champion.
Coventry lauded Denes’ achievement before revealing her desire to improve the welfare of sports personalities in the country who are finding the going tough due to lack of funding in the local sports sector.
“Ladies and gentleman, I am aware of the various challenges affecting local sport in general and boxing in particular. Chief among the issues is the under funding and limited investment in the sector.
“This has resulted in many of our professional boxers failing to focus on the sport and engaging in other activities in order to make a living,” Minister Coventry said.
“This has impacted negatively on the quality of our boxing and the level of competence of many of our professional boxers.
“Let me impress upon the fact that my ministry is making frantic efforts to make sure that we empower the institutions which are responsible for sport development in order to improve their capacities.”
Coventry promised to look into the issues, although she emphasised her ministry’s limitations with regards to professional boxers.
“Brendon Denes’ victory has lifted the spirits of many within the fraternity and indeed across the nation. 2020 has been a difficult year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is further proof that boxing is a very low-hanging fruit and can take the nation to glory in the field of sport. The win by Boika is a very welcome development for the entire nation,” Coventry said.