Sunday, 13 August 2017


HIS chastening loss to Qudratillo Abduqaxorov of Uzbekistan to relinquish his World Boxing Council (WBC) silver welterweight belt remains fresh in the minds of many local boxing fans just over five months after that fateful night in Singapore.

Manyuchi had become a national hero of sorts to the success-starved sport-loving Zimbabweans and was the overwhelming favourite to successfully defend his crown and challenge for the coveted WBC welterweight gold belt previously held by Floyd Mayweather Jr.

On the verge of greatness, Manyuchi’s world suddenly came crashing down following a devastating loss to Abduqaxorov in a bout which lasted just two minutes and 56 seconds.

It was the only knockout defeat of Manyuchi’s illustrious pro career which had span close to eight years and third defeat since losing to South African Page Tshesane in April 2010.

Manyuchi’s fighting technique which had served him well throughout his career was suddenly questioned, with boxing followers arguing that the Zimbabwean champion had paid the price for his showboating.

In an interview with Sports World, Manyuchi, who issued a public apology to his fans after the loss, said he was disappointed by some of the criticism he received from the fans.

“I know when you want to reach the top there is going to be ups and downs and boxing, like any other sport, has three results; you either win, lose or draw. Even the top football teams like Barcelona or Manchester United lose at some point, but they always bounce back,” he said.

“The problem we have here in Zimbabwe is that we don’t understand that losing is part of the sport and I must confess I was disappointed with some of the criticism I received after the loss.

Added Manyuchi: “However, I believe it has also made me a stronger person. On my record I’ve got more than 13 knockouts and one of the guys, I knocked him out in 47 seconds, so now I understand that it can also happen to me the same way it can happen to someone else.”

Manyuchi said as someone who had worked tirelessly to almost singlehandedly put Zimbabwean boxing back in the limelight after years in the doldrums, he was shocked by the amount of criticism he received.

“In terms of sport in Zimbabwe, I have done my best to put us on the world map, just like I have done for Zambia as well as the whole continent. I won’t lose hope because of people who feel just because I lost the title then I’m suddenly not good enough,” he said.

Manyuchi said the defeat in Singapore was a wake-up call and vowed to recover the title he lost to Abduqaxorov.

Last month he bounced back from the loss by beating the Democratic Republic of Congo boxer Sheriff Kasongo by a unanimous points decision in a non-title fight in Ndola, Zambia.

Manyuchi’s fight was one of the several undercard bouts lined up for the African Boxing Union main draw and he believes it was the first step towards a possible rematch with Abduqaxorov, who recently defeated Russian Dmitry Mikhaylenko by a unanimous decision in his backyard.

“My plans haven’t changed despite the loss to Abduqaxorov. Every boxer wants to reach the top and that remains my goal.

“As my manager has previously said, the contract that we signed with Qudratillo Abduqaxorov had a rematch clause. The rematch was supposed to be between the winner of Abduqaxorov’s title defence against Dmitry Mikhaylenko.

“Abduqaxorov won the match but it’s not going to be automatic. I will have another fight in October and it is only after that match, that my team will start discussions with Abduqaxorov’s camp for a rematch.

“I also have other options because there are so many titles I can challenge for; there’s the WBO, IBO, which have the same title that I had but for me to feel comfortable, I have to have a rematch with Abduqaxorov and set the record straight.”

As he continues on his journey back to redemption, Manyuchi is already making some long-term investments in preparation for a soft landing when his fighting career is over.

“At the moment I have some building projects that I’m working on. Actually I’m at one of the sites where I’m constructing a night club here in Chivhu as I speak to you. I have also invested in properties because I don’t want to end up with nothing, like what happened to a lot of former boxers. I’m also involved in various social responsibility programmes in my community through some of the schools as a way of giving back to the society,” the boxer said. standard


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