Wivine Tshidibi a 40-year-old mother of four from Democratic Republic of Congo was battling with an unfaithful husband at home. She was angry with her husband a Congolese boxer Mbuyi Tshibangu, alias “Mbuyi-Champion” to his fans. because after his matches he would disappear with other women for days on end. They fought constantly leading her to move to her parents’ home.
“Each time he finished one of his boxing matches, he went off with other women”, she says with an amused smile.
“That’s why I decided to take up boxing, so that he couldn’t get away from me any more,” she adds, though times have since moved on.
Out of anger she took it upon herself to join boxing but unfortunately did not last in the ring because there were only a handful of female boxers in the country and she had no rivals to fight with. She later decided to train and become a boxing referee, the only woman to take on a role in the country. She has since refereed both female and male matches but confessed that she preferred refereeing male matches as they were more challenging.
About 30 women boxers are active in the DRC on both the professional and amateur circuits, as compared with some 100 men. Sponsors are not interested in women and the matches can be difficult to arrange.
For lack of finding opponents in her own category, Tshidibi decided to take a course in becoming a professional referee. Since the first fight she adjudged in 2009, Tshidibi has served as referee for 15 professional matches and more than 80 amateur contests, every one of them between men.
Proud of her career, Tshidibi keeps her old photos as a trainee boxer and of matches she fought on display.
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