I WAS devastated when Esther Phiri went into retirement, because I lost everything I had worked for, says Exodus Boxing stables proprietor Antony Mwamba.
The coming back of Esther into the ring this Friday against South African boxer Sandra Almeida for the World Boxing Federation (WBF) and Women International Boxing Federation Association (WIBO) welterweight unification title bout at Lusaka’s Government Complex revived sad emotions in Mwamba.
At a briefing in Lusaka yesterday, Mwamba said he could not believe it that after two years of hardship he was staging a high profile fight.
He revealed that after Esther was forced into retirement in 2012 due to false HIV test, the rest of the boxers ran away from the stable.
“It was a very trying moment when Esther retired. A painful two years it was for me because I lost even the other boxers. Everything I had worked for became void. But today I have all the sponsors beside me and the fight is on this Friday, “he said.
He said Esther’s retirement was so sudden and distressing and he did not know how to stand head high.
“I am assuring the sponsors that fans of a good fight. We will not look back but aim for the best through hard work.
‘‘The support rendered to us for the upcoming fight is a motivating factor, “he said.
Meanwhile, Almeida applauded Esther for remaining strong despite the struggles she had gone through in life.
“I feel your pain because we share similar struggles. It’s not easy to stand out as a female boxer. You have gone through so much but you keep on and I commend you for that, “she said.
She revealed that her motivating factor for Friday’s fight was her son apart from it being a job.
“My son is a motivating factor once I step in the ring. He comes first before boxing.
‘‘ I fight to teach him that life is about staying strong, without a fight one can’t achieve their dreams,’’ she said.
Best Western Plus Lusaka Grand hotel managing director Dr. Hans J Heuer said it was an honour to host the two boxers and looking forward to a tough fight.
“Our desire is to give back to the community through sport. Esther is in shape as our dietician was doing everything to prepare her ahead of the fight,”he said.
Mwamba said the referee for the fight will be Eddie Marsha from Cape Town, South Africa,while WIBA, WBF and Zambia Professional Boxing Control Board will appoint the judges.