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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 February, 2005, 16:46 GMT
Wrestlers get to grips with muti
By Kennedy Gondwe
BBC, Lusaka

Congolese wrestler
Belief in Mutu is widespread in much of Africa

Zambia's wrestling authorities have stopped an international bout in the capital, Lusaka, after claims that a Congolese wrestler used magic on his veteran opponent.

Thirty-two-year-old Lubandi Mamba Mulozi, the champion of Katanga Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, entered the ring covered in white powder and carrying charms.

Each time he swung a cloth in the direction of the ring, both the referee and Zambian wrestler Willie Tigerboy Nkandu fell over.

The contest, which took place on Sunday evening, was stopped after an official collapsed and was carried from the ring.

Some in the angry crowd shouted that the contest - which was a grudge match - had been fixed.

Sport?

One fan said he thought the officials and participants were all acting and that the proceedings had become a farce rather than a sport.

But a Zambian official told me they had to step in and stop the fight.

"It is believed that magic was used - we are supposed to protect life."

The Zambian wrestler said he felt dizzy before collapsing and believed magic powers had been used.

"Every time he turned I felt something hitting me - like sand," he said.

The Congolese wrestler vehemently denied using muti and demanded a rematch.

"I was just using my own forces," he said.

"I still want revenge for the defeat of my brother in the 1990s," he said.




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