By Mesuli Zifo
EVANS Mbamba was hoping that his impressive seven rounds knockout of Thailander Devid Lookmahanak in WBC junior bantamweight title elimination clash in December 2008 in South Africa would land him a challenge against Vic Darchinyan.
But instead of facing his then WBC mandatory challenger Mbamba, Darchinyan moved up to the bantamweight to lose a points decision to IBF champion Joseph Agbeko, leaving the South African fighting for the low key WBC interim belt against Mexican Tomas Rojas in Mexico in October 2010.
Mbamba (18-1, 9 Kos) suffered his first loss when he dropped a unanimous points decision to Rojas as he could to motivate himself enough for a low key opponent when he was hoping to fry a big fish Darchinyan.
“I am not making excuses but facing Rojas was not the same as fighting Darchinyan who I was hoping for,” Mbamba recalls.
As fate would have it, his defeat not only robbed him of an interim title but it subsequently denied him an opportunity of fulfilling his dream of getting the Darchinyan clash as “Raging Bull” returned to the junior bantamweight after his defeat by Agbeko to knock out Rojas in two rounds.
“I kicked myself for blowing my chance to face Darchinyan by losing to Rojas,” Mbamba admits.
But as they say patience is a virtue, Mbamba will finally have his wish granted when he takes on Darchinyan at Karen Demirchyan Sports and Concerts Complex in Yerevan, Armenia on September 3.
Although only the less prestigious IBO title will be at stake, Mbamba does not care as long as it will be the Armenian across the ring.
And he is also not fazed by the fact he will be fighting in the bantamweight for the first time against such a formidable foe as Darchinyan (36-3-, 27 Kos).
“All I am excited about is to get into the ring with him, nothing else matters to me.
“Fighting in the bantamweight will not be a problem at all because I have grown since my last fight.”
Mbamba, 29, says he is aware that he will merely go to the fight as opponent to keep Darchinyan active while the Australian- based southpaw explores his other options in the bantamweight division teaming with talent.
“I know Darchinyan wants to keep active to prepare himself for big fights but I am afraid he will have to work for it.”
Indeed Darchinyan’s promoter Gary Shaw wanted the IBF to sanction an interim title fight between his charge and Abner Mares after Agbeko fell ill days before his title defence against Mares in the finals of the Showtime tournament on April 23 at Nokia Center in Los Angeles, US.
This was after Darchinyan administered a beat-down on former IBF champion Yohnny Perez in a fight that was elevated to the main bout due to Agbeko’s illness.
Even though he would be a worthy opponent, the chances of the 35-year-old Darchinyan facing the winner of Agbeko-Mares clash rescheduled for August 13 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, US are very slim after the IBF ordered the winner to face mandatory challenger Vusi Malinga next.
However Darchinyan is still harboring wishes to avenge his defeat by Nonito Donaire who is considered as the top dog in the division.
Mbamba says he is aware of all these possibilities but he wants to make a name for himself by beating a name opponent to get himself into the mix.