Boxing fans in Blantyre will not have the pleasure of watching the World Boxing Federation (WBF) All Africa Lightweight champion, Hannock Phiri return to the ring this weekend, as promoters of the local fight have rescheduled it to October.
Phiri fondly called the 'Hardknocker', was expected to face Mzuzu-based pugilist, Laston Kayira in a 12-round title contest this Saturday at Robins Park.
However due to the COVID-19 restrictions by the Presidential Taskforce on pandemic which allows only 50 people gathering indoors, the organisers, Alufandika Boxing Promotion think it is not feasible.
"To all our boxers and fans, in the spirit of following the COVID-19 guidelines, we have decided to shift the fight to October because the 50 people direction cannot help us if we continue with the fight. We should all know that allowing 50 people in would mean only the boxers, promoters and the referees.
"The figure may also be smaller to accommodate all those mentioned. So we opted for October, with the hope that by then the regulations will have been lifted, and that the COVID-19 situation will have normalised," said Robin Alufandika.
This could have been Phiri'sfirst local fight since 2019 when he won the national lightweight championship defeating Byson Gwayani.
Last week, Phiri told this publication that he was shifting his focus to local fights as he has the task to defend the belt.
But reacting to the news about the postponement, Phiri said he has no problem and will also have to shift focus to the World Alliance Boxing Association (WABA) fight he will have in August in Tanzania.
"I am still training as usual, of course my mind was on this local fight first, but all the same, I have to go get another belt in Tanzania," he said.
Phiri's is also the World Professional Boxing Federation (WPBF) champions after defeating Hillary Kataya in Zambia in 2019.
The rescheduled fight also had Wongani Kainga taking on Israel Kam'mwamba in another 12-round fight, while Brighton Mwando was to face Mussa Mkwanda in an eight-round bout.
Moses Banda was on schedule to exchange brawls with Charles Chikopa in a six-round contest, while Chimwemwe Ng'ombe was up against Tinkhani Kamanga from Mzuzu.