Langton Nyakwenda —
IN just two minutes, 52 seconds the much-hyped bout was over and Charles Manyuchi had relinquished the World Boxing Council silver welterweight title at the OCBC arena in Singapore yesterday.
The Zimbabwean boxing champion and his camp were so confident of dispatching the unheralded Qudratillo Abduqaxorov, who went into the match with a measly 10-0-0 record, but the 23-old pugilist nicknamed The Punisher had other ideas.
Abduqaxorov ignored Manyuchi’s showboating and did the business much to the delight of the partisan crowd.
Manyuchi bragged to the fullest in the build-up but in the end he embarrassed the nation with a comical show that was not befitting of the occasion.
Did Manyuchi throw away the fight? Was the match fixed or what?
Only Manyuchi and his handlers Oriental Quarries from Zambia can provide the answer.
The 27-year-old Zimbabwean boxer had not tasted defeat since April 2010 but the manner in which Manyuchi fell twice in the first round in Singapore yesterday left more questions than answers.
He was comical as usual, exposing his face to the opponent as if to mock Abduqaxorov but a combination of punches from the Uzbekistan boxer sent him to the canvas.
He stood up but before he could gather composure Abduqaxorov finished him off and Hong Kong referee Raymond Chang signaled to end the bout.
Abduqaxorov’s manager Vikram Sivapragasm of Cartel International Promotions had noted Manyuchi’s weakness before the fight and yesterday his boxer capitalized.
“His (Manyuchi) weakness could be that he leaves his defense open to lure his opponents and this could have its own risks,” Sivapragasm told The Sunday Mail last week.
The loss was Manyuchi’s first since April 16, 2010 when he lost on points to South Africa’s Page Tshesane at Emalahleni Civic in Mpumalanga.
Manyuchi’s record is now at 20-3-1 and he will now fall down the pecking order on the WBC rankings where he opened March on sixth.
His dreams of going all the way for the WBC gold which is now in the hands of American Keith Thurman have all gone up in smoke, at least for now.
Manyuchi’s handlers can push for a rematch but Dmitri Mikhaylenko of Russia has the first take.
Could this be the beginning of the end for Manyuchi?
Only time will tell.