He competed for his native country at 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. There he was stopped in the first round of the lightweight division by Tanzania's Rashid Matumla.
Bwalya fell into a coma after what colleagues said was a drinking spree following his controversial victory over the Briton Paul Burke in Lusaka in a Commonwealth title clash on 14 December 1997 at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre. The Zambian boxer won a unanimous decision in the 12-round bout despite being knocked down and saved by the bell in the last round.
Friends of the boxer told Zambian newspapers Bwalya, who was taking medication for malaria, had gone on a two-day celebratory drinking binge after winning the Commonwealth light welterweight title. He complained of a headache and was taken to the intensive care unit of the local University Teaching Hospital (UTH), where he lapsed into a coma and died on Tuesday 23 December 1997 at the age of 27.
The then Zambia's Minister of Sport, William Harrington, announced the suspension of the Professional Boxing Board of Control and said he had instituted an independent inquiry to investigate the circumstances surrounding Bwalya's death. Hilary Matyola, head of the Zambian Boxing Board of Control, had been suspended by Mr Harrington along with the rest of the board. Mr Matyola said last week the board was discussing whether referee Hugo Mulenga should have stopped the 12-round bout.
But he was ahead on points and won the fight despite vociferous complaints by Burke's camp, who claimed the final round was at least two minutes short.