ZIMBABWEAN boxing superstar Brendon “Boika” Denes Samhanya has been fighting in and out of the ring.
This is a 25-year-old who dared to dream, lived the dream and has become a reference point.
In an interview with ZTN reporter Charmaine Chasweka (CC), the WBO Africa welterweight champion gives the impression that there is more to boxing in what defines him. His is an attempt to live with the gods.
CC: Where did the name Boika come from?
Boika: I got the name Boika at the 11th edition of the Zimbabwe National Youth Games in 2013 after defeating guys with big names at national level. Manyuchi (Charles) then named me Boika. However, our late friend Gringo Gushaz, who was coach for Mash West doubted me then.
CC: At what age did you get into boxing?
Boika: I started boxing at a very tender age of 7 in 2001 and I have since been a part of the sport.
CC: Of late, it has been tough for everyone because of the Covid-19 pandemic, how have you managed to sustain yourself through the tough times?
Boika: I have an honours degree in Politics and Public Administration and I am currently doing my Masters in Strategic Management. So my academic side has been sustaining me as well as self-supporting projects that I do. I have also been pushing so hard to keep myself in shape and I finally got the chance to fight for WBO in Namibia and won.
CC: So, what has been the biggest highlight of your career?
Boika: It has to be when I got the best graduating student athlete and met his excellency, President Mnangagwa. Also, my recent fight in Dubai was a great opportunity and moment I really enjoyed.
CC: And your worst experience?
Boika: I was once banned after participating at an Olympic event in Senegal due to certain circumstances and that hit me hard.
CC: Are you married and do you have any kids?
Boika: (laughs) I am going to skip this one for now.
CC: Lets’ talk about family. How has your family influenced your career?
Boika: Initially my grandmother didn’t want me to be a boxer, including my mother and father. But when I passed my O’ levels, they got convinced that I was focused and they started supporting me.
CC: So Boika, out of all the sporting disciplines in the world, why boxing?
Boika: I can safely say I was born a fighter. I really liked fighting since my childhood but whilst I was in high school I also tried athletics as a long distance runner and I managed to reach national level.
CC: How do you balance being yourself and being famous?
Boika: I always try my best to humble myself and remain focused.
CC: What have you achieved so far through boxing in terms of awards and competitions you have won?
Boika: Well, at amateur level I got 17 gold medals, including four international medals, I won four gold medals in Angola and Maputo. I also went for the Olympic qualifiers in Dakar. I was signed at Manyuchi academy in 2018. This is when I had my debut fight in Masvingo at Civic Centre, a fight which great Zimbabwe University partnered with Manyuchi academy. All in all, I have ten fights and all wins. I am currently WBO Africa welterweight champion, WBF international champion. I am also former sports person of the year on two occasions at Great Zimbabwe University where I did my honours degree.
CC: Are there any people behind your success, people who inspire and push you to do better?
Boika: My family first. They are very supportive. And team Manyuchi academy. Also every time I watch May Weather’s fights, I feel comfortable and eager to do better. Denzel Washington also motivates me. Resident minister of Masvingo, Ezra Chadzamira is always very supportive of what I do. Dean of students of Great Zimbabwe University, Sarrfina Mudavanhu, Tasunungurwa Marisa, have also been offering me assistance and I’m very grateful.
CC: What advice would you give to someone who is trying to follow their dreams or pursue their strengths?
Boika: Well, in terms of boxing, it is really a good sport which requires blood, sweat and tears. Discipline and consistency is a must to go far as well as having patience. In my case, I did boxing for a couple of years without getting any income, but I was building my name and my career and now I am well-off, with a direction. Sports people must also stay away from drugs and understand that it is not really about the money, but following your passion. We all need money but that shouldn’t be your main goal.
CC: Thank you so much for your time.
Boika: You are welcome!