By Gilbert Munetsi
Former World Boxing Council international silver champion Charles Manyuchi last Saturday had a send-off party organised by his academy and the Chivhu business community as he embarks on a mission to reclaim his belts.
The colourful party, held at Phil-Jen Leisure Centre on the outskirts of the town, followed a visit to Harare a day earlier by Manyuchi’s manager at Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions, Christopher Malunga.
The manager’s mission was for Manyuchi to sign for a fight in Russia on August 18 where he faces Magomed Kurbanov for the International Boxing Federation title.
It will be held at the DIVS Arena, Ekaterinburg, the same venue where two years ago Manyuchi demolished Dmitry Mikhaylenko before a capacity crowd of 70 000 to claim the WBC silver title.
Malunga spoke at length about the new developments and the plans they have at OQBP to have their boxer reclaim his belts.
“I am happy that he appreciated the slight improvements we want added and that is a normal situation in such circumstances.
“But I can safely confirm that the assignment in Russia is 95% concluded, even the matchmaker has accepted most of our conditions and he (Manyuchi) should be coming to Lusaka for camp any time this week to fully prepare for the fight.”
Malunga said they had plans as a stable to ensure their boxer avoids what befell him in Singapore when he lost his title in the first round to Uzbek Qudratillo Abduxorov.
“We have given him a couple of international friendlies, including a recent one in which he fought Sheriff Kasongo of Tanzania in Solwezi, Zambia, though over a shorter distance.
“We have also agreed that he will now fight in the super-welterweight (lightweight) division, which is a notch up the traditional welterweight that he has over the years been categorised in.
“This also means that even his fighting style has to change.
“That is the reason we need him in camp for a longer period, but let me hasten to reiterate that as management we have decided and advised Charles that his fighting style certainly has to change 50%.
“We don’t want a repeat of Singapore. Once beaten, twice shy,” said Malunga.
He also hinted that apart from the WBC, they will also be considering other sanctioning bodies such as the WBA, WBO and IBF, adding that a return match for Manyuchi in Harare was also in the works.