Thursday, April 05, 2007

Stay focused, Levy advises Esther

Stay focused, Levy advises Esther
By Kennedy Gondwe
Thursday April 05, 2007 [04:05]

PRESIDENT Levy Mwanawasa has counseled Women International Boxing Federation (WIBF) world super featherweight champion Esther Phiri against allowing fame get to her head. Speaking when he hosted Esther for lunch at State House yesterday, President Mwanawasa advised Phiri to be wary of men.

“The demand for you will be very high. There will be many people particularly of the opposite sex,” President Mwanawasa said. “Let not fame get to your head. There’s a lot of money in boxing but that money needs to be harnessed properly.”

President Mwanawasa told Esther not to be like other boxers, who after making money at their prime, led a miserable life. President Mwanawasa revealed that after Esther defended her title against Monika Petrova of Bulgaria last month, his chief analyst for press David Kombe approached him to find out what could be done to honour her.

President Mwanawasa said he told Kombe to approach a few business houses to raise money for Esther, from which K300 million was realised.

He said from the amount, K244 million was spent on purchasing a house for the Esther in the Ben Mwiinga (PHI) complex.

The front view of Esther's new three-bedroomed fully furnished house

President Mwanawasa said when Esther stepped into the ring, he was very worried, but he was delighted that she defended the title. ”I speak on behalf of the nation, Esther has done us proud. We are very grateful that you won the title for the second time within six months,”he said.

President Mwanawasa said although he was a bad sportsman, he was committed in the promotion of sport. “I am such a bad sportsman, nothing goes for me. But I like to promote sports and I do all that must be done to promote sports,” he said.

He gave an example of the soon-to-be constructed stadium in Ndola as some of his efforts in the promotion of sport. And an elated Esther said she could not believe what was happening to her.

“I can’t believe this…I didn’t expect this,” said Phiri as she thanked President Mwanawasa. Phiri’s mother Evelyn Tembo thanked God for the government’s gesture. “I don’t have much to say except to thank God,” said Evelyn after touring her daughter’s new three-bedroomed fully furnished house.

Among other boxers that received monetary prizes was Joseph Chingangu who dethroned Francis ‘Galagata’ Zulu as national heavy champion. Chingagu received K2.5 million.

Esther in her new house with her mother Evelyn and daughter. On the right is sports permanent secretary Bob Samakai Esther’s trainer and manager Anthony Mwamba also got K7 million. Meanwhile, President Mwanawasa has urged Mwamba to ensure that Phiri’s defence title bouts are spaced for a long period to allow the boxer enjoy her victories.

Esther is scheduled to fight another Bulgarian boxer next month.
Different companies among them Celtel, National Milling, Zambian Airways, Barclays Bank and Indo Zambia Bank contributed towards Phiri’s house.

Celtel contributed K 90 million while National Milling contributed K 20 million. Multichoice-Zambia gave her a DSTV decoder with a one year free subscription.

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