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BOXERS

Tamuka Muchapondwa
The Quiet Storm

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

The aforementioned quote is a philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and knowledge of reality. It is also the embodiment of Reading’s little known champion in waiting, Tamuka Muchapondwa.

Unbeaten in 11 professional bouts and ranked in the top ten of the Sky Sports Welterweight Rankings, the layperson would expect an athlete of such repute to have local notoriety, national adulation and ultimately the world at his feet.

Talent-wise there is nothing to question, as slick as he is cocky and between the ropes as smooth as a summer lake at dawn, The Zimbabwe born pugilist has all of the necessary tools to become a master tradesman. After stacking up eight points wins in his first nine victorious bouts, Muchapondwa has subsequently ended the night early in his last two stanzas…we think he’s learning.

The Welterweight division is awash with household names, the self-proclaimed greatest of all time reigned supreme in the 147lbs division for a decade before curtailing his career at the tail-end of 2015, even if only temporarily. Domesitcally, two of boxing’s biggest names, Messrs Khan and Brook, gobble up as many column inches as they do rivals and even national treasure Sam Eggington is beginning to cause the occasional ripple amongst the casual fan, thou waves have crashed against the radar of the hardcore boxing fan for quite some time.

If skills pay the bills, as is so often is alluded to in colloquial English, then Muchapondwa would be a millionaire, and no doubt his time will come. A feature of the most highlighted and competitive division in domestic and world boxing, now is certainly the time for him to be pushed to the forefront.

So why the ‘quiet storm’ reference in the title of this short blog post? Why the mention of trees falling in forests out of earshot of walkers?

A marketing mantra reads as follows “you can have the greatest product in the world, but if nobody knows about it, it’s worthless.” And therein lies the problem….or lay the problem!

The marketing machine that catapulted lesser skilled combatants to the column inches of the nation’s most viewed publications has, until now, been the glaring omission in the Muchapondwa pugilistic repertoire. A fighter of his calibre should never be able to walk the streets of his hometown without being recognised and any event with his name topping the bill should have more than the odd few ‘bums on seats’

The Platinum Boxing Promotions juggernaut headed up by professional footballer Marvin Bartley is now throwing its weight behind Reading’s future champion. And with the assistance of the organisation’s Head of Strategy and Commercialisation and Head of PR and Communications, it will only be a matter of time before the name Tamuka Muchapondwa becomes household and garners as many column inches as it deserves.

Every great fighter needs one thing, a local rival, now if only Tamuka had one…..
Tom Jarvis
The Delivered

“There is nothing better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.”

In this the most noble of arts, the road to success can often seem like the path to perdition. Lonely, tumultuous, hard….the much maligned existence of the professional boxer is often far removed from the preconceived notions of the young fledgling who first laces up the gloves.
To the uninitiated, who sees the fast cars, luxury homes and extravagant lifestyle of the world’s leading pugilists, the reality of boxing can be a harsh one. The buzz of the alarm clock that wakes you long before the rest of the world stirs. You can discount Marvin Hagler’s marvellous quote which reads, “it’s hard to get up for your morning run when you are sleeping in silk pyjamas”, no such issue here. After a full day at work you can disregard any ideas about a return to the warm bosom of a family, no, it’s off to the boxing gym where you are greeted by the smell of liniment oil, the sound of leather cracking against leather and the bellow of instruction from trainer to disciple echoes around the room to fill your ears….But there is something strangely thrilling about this existence, something that entices the budding champion to return, a calling…if you don’t know what that is, this clearly isn’t the profession for you.

They say iron sharpens iron and in the confines of the Reading Boxing Club this is apparent. Boxers of ever shape, colour and creed clamber amongst one another putting their body to the ultimate test. Within these walls all are accepted, often referred to as the school of hard knocks, it’s more akin to a battalion of one of the country’s most respected regiments. Yes, within these walls, champions are made.

To the back of the room lurks a non-disconcerting fellow. Humble, obedient, quietly deadly. He has seen adversity, been beaten back by it, made mistakes, maligned them, yearned for more, he has heeded the calling and now cannot repel it.

His name is Thomas Jarvis, The Tank to those that have seen him climb between the ropes of the hallowed ring to do combat with those that oppose him. He is a pugilist from the old school, where the noble art was about hitting and not being hit, he’s a purist’s dream. His record was a perfect one and read 5-0 before a recently ill-advised move saw him do combat with an opponent outside of his Light-Welterweight weight class. His honesty set him back. He fears no one and will do battle when instructed with little thought for the outcome. His confidence in this instance was his undoing, his self-belief his most deadly adversary. They have weight categories for a reason and now this lesson has been heeded.

Mistake made, Tank sought not to dwell and let the demons of defeat consume him. Instead he looked for another direction, he heeded the advice of those around him and joined forces with Reading’s latest up and coming promotional company Platinum Boxing Promotions.

Very soon it will be time to climb back between those ropes. To face another challenge. Ready to rise from the ashes of defeat much like the resurrection of the phoenix Tank is ready to be delivered. After all, this isn’t a choice, it’s a calling and one that he has answered.

There is something strangely sobering about the thought of combat. The test of one man against another, no interruptions, no excuses, red corner, blue corner….fight.