BOXING heroine Esther Phiri Friday night retained her Women International Boxing Association (WIBA) and Women International Boxing Organisation (WIBO) titles after knocking out Zimbabwean, Monalisa Sibanda, ending a successful week for Zambian sport.
Esther’s defending of WIBA and WIBO light-welterweight belts came barely five days after the Zambia soccer squad won the 2012 Orange Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
In this eight-round scheduled title fight held at Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC) in Lusaka, Esther stopped Sibanda just 42 seconds into the seventh round with a good combination which dumped her former sparring partner in the corner.
Sibanda, who had a false start to this bout with her wild punches, failed to beat referee Andile Matika’s eighth count.
The Zimbabwean, hoping to maintain her edge over Esther after winning their last fight in 2005, was forced on her knee in the second round with a solid punch to the chin and another blow to the head.
Sensing danger, Sibanda resorted to throwing uncoordinated punches but Esther maintained her dominance with some good jabs.
Esther sent Sibanda crashing to the ropes twice in the sixth round but out of the blue the Zimbabwean unleashed a stray blow that shook the Zambian.
After retaining her belts, Esther said Sibanda now needed to respect her as a world champion because she was no match to her.
“She must now give me respect as a world champion. I wanted Monalisa to believe that I’m the world champion,” an overjoyed Esther said.
Her trainer Anthony Mwamba said it was by faith in God that the tournament finally took place after earlier postponements.
Sibanda, however, said she did not want to fight because among other things she was disappointed with her $2,000 purse money while Esther was assured of more money.