Instead of the neutral venue in South Africa the fight will now be staged at the Mulungisi Conference Centre in Lusaka where the Zambian has not lost a fight since winning the world title in 2006 against Kelli Cofer of the United States of America.
In fact, Phiri has fought all her 13 title defences either at the Mulungisi Conference Centre or at the Woodlands Stadium in the same city, and has not even fought anywhere outside Africa.
Monalisa and Phiri will fight for the Women’s International Boxing Federation and the International Boxing Organisation’s junior light welterweight titles which Phiri holds. The fight will be over 10 rounds.
Promoter Antony Mwamba says the change in venue has been necessitated by financial considerations adding that it would cost far too more, to stage the fight in South Africa than in Lusaka.
There are other fights on the same the bill on top of the fight between Monalisa and Phiri, the most important being, the IBO junior flyweight contest featuring Kennedy Kenyata and Richard Garcia.
Although Monalisa’s promoter Boris Zneider of Bitcon Promotions says there are not reading much into the change of venue from South Africa to Zambia there has been concern that Phiri has been getting home decisions to allow her to continue holding onto her international belts.
In fact, there was international condemnation after her fight with Terri Blair of the United States of America at the same Mulungisi Conference on 28 November 2009 was declared a draw when it appeared Blair had dominated and won the fight. Efforts by Blair to get a rematch failed.
Monalisa is one of the only two boxers ever to have beaten Phiri. When the two met in Harare in 2005, Monalisa won by a technical knockout but that fight was a none title bout. This is the first time that the two former sparring partners are meeting in a title contest, and for that matter, in a world title.
This is also Monalisa’s first international fight in three years after taking a break from boxing to give birth. Despite that Monalisa’s trainer Issa Phiri says his boxer has not lost her sharpness and is just waiting for that August 13 day to prove a point.