Sea Point boxer Blessing Mutero had the strength to overcome hardship and was victorious in his professional debut before the national lockdown.
Fighting out of The Ring Reloaded in Sea Point, the Zimbabwean born fighter is known as “Shumba”, which translates to lion, and is the name of his clan in Gweru.
Born in 1991 into a family of fighters, Mutero’s older brother, the late Frank Mutero, introduced him to boxing at the tender age of six. Frank, a professional boxer, trained him, and was present during his first fight in 1999.
Mutero has, throughout the past two decades, been in and out of the sport.
In 2010, he arrived in South Africa as a fresh young amateur, however, struggled financially.
He joined a couple of boxing gyms around the city until he found a place he could call home, at Blood, Sweat and Tears, in Sea Point where he became an instructor, training the likes of two-time former International Boxing Federation (IBF) champ, Mzonke Fana, Johannes “The Pearl of Paarl” Salie, and Chris “Lightning” Mugishu.
Last year, Mutero took the initiative to go professional in the sport.
He took on Paul Stolz at Maxim Boxing’s Battle of Supremacy, at Hope Street, in Gardens, earlier this year and won the fight via a third round TKO decision to mark his arrival in the middleweight division.
“The debut fight boosted my confidence and it solidified my idea of fighting to pursue my dream,” he said.
Mutero dominated the first two rounds, and in the third round, he stepped back and studied his opponent’s weaker points much more precisely.
“I switched the game-plan. What happened was, during the first and second rounds, my fitness was still up, and in the third round I was gassing out. I controlled my fitness, slowed it down, read the game and capitalised from my opponents mistakes,” he said.
Mutero said the lockdown may have paused his plans for the year, however, it has amplified his future ambitions.
He is currently on a training camp in Norway with former professional boxer and renowned coach, Trevor Ambrose, from the UK.
“I am staying ready and training every day. Any opportunity may come and I should be ready. There is a possibility to fight here in Norway,” he said.
“During the lockdown I have been training two times a day; physical training in the morning and boxing in the evening. We have an hour and 30 minutes of technical training – either working on a jab or hook.
“We practise the same punch over and over again. Some other days we practise and freestyle for an hour working on how to slip and jab. I then do condition training by myself – so I treat myself like a client and set a condition training schedule,” he said.
Mutero is also a fitness instructor and has ambitions of opening his own gym in the future.
He said over the past weeks he started on a plant-based diet.
“I’m really focused, staying in shape and prepared for any opportunity. I want to be the best boxer in Africa.”
Mutero said no matter what life throws at him, he is prepared to get up and keep pushing forward.
“Never give up on your dream. Believe in yourself. Put in the work. That’s the only thing that will get your dream to come true,” said Mutero.