Langton Nyakwenda —
CHARLES MANYUCHI is a broken man. The prize fighter is crying a lot as he struggles to come to terms with his shock loss to Qudratillo Abduqaxorov of Uzbekistan last weekend, the boxer’s close associates have revealed.
Manyuchi surrendered his World Boxing Council silver welterweight title to Abduqaxorov in 2 minutes 56 seconds at Singapore’s OCBC Arena on March 25.
The technical knockout plunged Zimbabweans into apathy.
The 27-year-old boxer had grown accustomed to grand receptions after international excursions, but last Thursday he quietly drove into the country from Zambia.
Manyuchi has been gagged by his manager Chris Malunga of Oriental Quarries.
Malunga is expected to issue a statement in Harare this week when he returns from Mexico where another of his pugilists, Catherine Phiri, was set to defend her WBC gold bantamweight title against Mariana Juarez last night.
Those close to Manyuchi say the former world champ feels like he has let down his country.
“He is not himself, he is crying a lot and these allegations that he could have thrown away the fight are really hurting him,” said an associate.
“When he arrived back home he cried for close to two hours and once he had collected himself the first thing he highlighted was that he would never throw away a fight because of money. He highlighted that he could have taken up Zambian citizenship if he was all about the money.”
Manyuchi is based in Zambia.
His local sponsors, Mr T35, reaffirmed their support for the boxer while Government – through the Sport and Recreation Ministry – has also backed Manyuchi.
“We are Manyuchi’s local sponsors but as you are aware he has a contract with Oriental Quarries of Zambia, so they are mandated to comment about the boxer. However, as Mr T35 we will stand by the boxer because we have come a long way and we know Manyuchi can rise again,” said an official.Manyuchi is said to be pushing his handlers to invoke a rematch clause said to be in the contract signed with Cartel International Promotions of Singapore who manage Abduqaxorov.
“The thinking is that Manyuchi as the previous holder of the title should be given first preference and that was also discussed during the talks prior to last weekend’s fight,” said a source.
However, an immediate rematch might not be possible because Dmitri Mikhaylenko of Russia won the right to fight the winner between Manyuchi and Abduqaxorov when he defeated Colombia’s Breidis Prescott in November 2016 to land the interim WBC silver welterweight title.
Manyuchi defeated Mikhaylenko in May last year to claim the then vacant WBC silver welterweight belt.
The Zimbabwean star failed to defend the belt in time and his loss in Singapore last weekend could affect his WBC ratings when the sanctioning body releases the April rankings.
Manyuchi is currently ranked sixth in the world by the WBC, behind former gold champion Danny Garcia (US), Amir Khan (Great Britain), Shawn Porter (US), Andre Berto (US), and Timothy Bradley (US).