HARARE – Charles Manyuchi may be 11 000km away from home, but scores of his fans — boxing promoters, politicians and former pugilists — believe he will beat Russian Dmitry Mikhaylenko tomorrow.
Manyuchi is taking on Mikhaylenko for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) international welterweight title left vacant by Britain’s Amir Khan.
The Zimbabwean, who arrived in Russia last week Wednesday, goes toe-to-toe in a 12-rounder against the undefeated Mikhaylenko at the DIVS in Ekaterinburg.
Nicknamed “The Mechanic”, the 29-year-old Russian is yet to taste defeat in an impressive career that has seen him floor his opponents nine times in 21 professional fights.
But former local welterweight and cruiser weight champion Amasi Nenjana wants Manyuchi to take this fight like any other.
“The Russian is older than him meaning he can be a pack of energy against him,” Nenjana told the Daily News yesterday.
“I think first three rounds, he should be cautious because this is a guy who has knocked out nine fighters. But that should not scare him.
“He must jab and move, jab and move, and then when he gets to rounds five and six rounds he goes toe to toe,” added the Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chairman.
Deltaforce boxing promoter Clyde Musonda feels the Zimbabwean boxing star should go all-out for a knockout victory to avoid any home advantage verdict in favour of the host boxer.
“He must not show respect from the first bell,” the former Olympic boxer said.
“He’s got to attack because he is fighting away from home, tight guard. I have seen his opponent’s fights, he’s got to hit him hard. His win will be good for the boxing fraternity.”
Manyuchi’s promoter, Christopher Malunga of Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions, said they were not reading much into their opponent’s impressive record.
“Charles is more than ready to meet Mikhaylenko.
“He defended his WBC International title multiple times, so Mikhaylenko has to be really technically ready to even stand a chance,” he said.
The Masvingo-raised pugilist last fought in July 2015 when he accounted for Gianluca Frezza away in Italy in his second title defence of the WBC international title.
But popular boxing promoter Boris Zneider does not reckon ring rust will weigh against the 26-year-old boxer.
Manyuchi currently holds a world ranking of number 35 out of 2 092, according to the official boxing website, Boxrec.
“Manyuchi is very fit for this match,” Zneider said. “Charles is a fast boxer, very flexible, got a strong punch and a good right hand. He should do well.”
Manyuchi has never fought in his home country since being crowned African Boxing Union champion some four years ago and WBC and IBF-certified boxing judge Patrick Mukondiwa believes that is ample proof he will not be dazzled by the bright lights of Russia.
Manyuchi has triumphed in foreign rings in Burkina Faso, Zambia and Namibia.
“His chances are 50/50, the only disadvantage our boy has is he hasn’t been active for almost a year,” Mukondiwa said.
“I have videos of this boxer (Mikhaylenko) he is fast and can weave, their style is the same…the bottom line is the lucky boxer of the day will win.”