Zim's Muripo Leaves For World Title Defence

Muripo leads a four member Zimbabwean team that also includes Lovemore Nyamutsa, Malvery Muyambo, and George Mutambo seeking a longer grip to the title he won against all expectations in Osaka, Japan, two years ago.

Unlike other sporting disciplines which are battling for sponsorship, funding for the kyokushin World Cup squad was secured long before the contest and Zimbabwe Kyokushin Karate president, Shepherd Charandura said they were hoping for the best under such circumstances.

Charandura said the team has received enough international exposure and training adding that he was looking forward to at least another world title on top of the one that Muripo holds when the Zimbabwean team returns home.

Unlike the soccer, cricket and rugby World Cup which are a collective team game, the kyokushin World Cup draws karatekas from all the four parts of the globe who participate in different categories.

The two day kyokushin extravaganza will feature contests in different weight divisions with Muripo seeking to defend his world middleweight crown while Muyambo will contest in the lightweight category. Nyamutsa will take part in the open weight section while Matambo will join Muripo in the middleweight contest.

The Zimbabwe team has for the past two years been preparing for the competition taking part in a number of international competitions, and has had a training stint in South Africa where the sport is of high standard compared to most of the countries on the African continent.

The spotlight, though, will be on Muripo, the star of the 2009 games. In August that year Muripo made the world to sit up and take notice after he beat Kiguyama Yasimuchi in his home town of Osaka, Japan to become the first ever Africa world karate champion.

On the road to the final, the then unknown Zimbabwean beat opponents from Spain, Khazakstan, German, and Australia, and was the same year crowned Zimbabwe’s Sportsperson of the Year.

More than 40 will battle for Muripo’s title on a round knockout basis and the Zimbabwean believes he can take them on and knock them out again.