Tanzanian boxer Karim Mandonga experienced another setback on Sunday in Zanzibar, as the island bore witness to its first boxing match in nearly six decades.
Popularly known as “Mtu Kazi,” he faced off against local boxer Osman Muller Jr, marking a significant occasion as Zanzibar lifted the boxing ban that had been in place since 1964.
“Kawaida ya mchezo wa ngumi unaweza ukaongea na ulingoni yakatokea mengine. Niwaambie hivi Muller Omar akanipiga mimi kama nimempiga na nikimpiga nimempiga tu,” Mandonga commented on the bout.
This latest defeat marks Mandonga’s third consecutive loss. Previously, he had been defeated by both Kenya’s Daniel Wanyonyi and Uganda’s Moses Golola in separate matches in July 2023.
Despite enduring a third successive defeat, Mandonga remained steadfast in his stance leading up to the match. He had stated that he would retire if he lost to the Zanzibarian fighter.
Unapologetically, the outspoken boxer reiterated his position as the leading figure in boxing, expressing gratitude to Zanzibar President Hussein Hassan Mwinyi for lifting the long-standing boxing ban on the island.
“Nashukuru Rais wa Zanzibar Hussein Hassan Mwinyi ametubariki sisi kuturuhusu tucheze ngumi. Hatuna mengi ya kusema, ngumi ziendelee jamani,” Mandonga added.
The ban on boxing was imposed by Zanzibar’s founding President Abedi Amani Karume in the aftermath of the revolution in 1964.
The 1964 revolution resulted in the overthrow of the Sultan of Zanzibar and his predominantly Arab government. President Karume assumed leadership of the island.
It’s worth noting that this ban did not extend to Tanzania’s mainland.
Citing cultural reasons, Karume prohibited the sport, believing that fighting was inhumane and a pursuit meant for animals.
However, President Mwinyi, who took office in November 2020 as the 8th President of Zanzibar, has been resolute in his commitment to the development of sports and tourism.
Lifting the boxing ban stands as a pivotal step in this endeavor.