Gilbert Munetsi Sports Correspondent
CHARLES MANYUCHI will tomorrow night battle to start his redemption exercise when he challenges Russian boxer Magomed Kurbanov for the International Boxing Federation super welterweight title at the DIVS Arena, Ekatarinberg.
He goes into the ring with fond memories of a sweet victory posted at the same venue in May 2016 when he defeated Dmitry Mikhaylenko – who then boasted of 21 matches without defeat – to claim the World Boxing Council silver crown.
But Kurbanov (23) is a different ball game who, from the look of his colouful boxing resume, should have deservedly earned his predator’s moniker of “Black Lion.”
He comes into the fight with 14 wins (11 of them by knockout) and no blemish on his record.
The DIVS Arena is also a familiar hunting territory for the Russian who has fought there seven times.
While Manyuchi is rated number one out of a small pool of five super welterweights in Zimbabwe, Kurbanov equally occupies pole position in his native Russia, among 55 other boxers in his division.
The Zimbabwean has since dropped in the world rankings to 35 while the Russian sits at number 22 out of 1 826.
The KO rates for the two are at 50% and 79% in favour of Kurbanov and a win by either boxer will automatically mean a giant leap for him on the ladder.
The Russian brags of several decorations from the ring which include the World Boxing Organisation Youth Super welterweight, WBO Inter-Continental title, as well as the World Boxing Council Asian and the WBC EuroAsia Pacific Boxing Council super welterweight belts.
Manyuchi, speaking from Russia yesterday, told The Herald he was not fazed by the statistics of his adversary which he said were “just numbers.”
The Zimbabwean has won the African Boxing Union welterweight, the WBC international (twice) and the WBC silver, which he ultimately lost to Uzbek Qudratillo Abduxarov in Singapore in March last year, thereby rendering him crownless.
“I’m geared up for this fight, it means everything for me and my career so I will not take anything to chance.
‘’Like any mortal, I have learnt my mistakes and the fall that succeeded the pride in Singapore is still very fresh in my memory.
“I have scaled up the divisions from welterweight to super welterweight and this means even my fighting style has changed to suit the current circumstances.
‘’My team has been working on that around the clock and a victory in a new division is every boxer’s wish,” said Manyuchi.
He said he would be dedicating the fight to Langton “Schoolboy” Tinago who gave him advice to “make hay while the sun is still shining.”
German Tutov is promoting the fight in a deal that will see the Zimbabwean take part in several international assignments brokered by the veteran Russian promoter.