HARARE – Following Zimbabwean boxer Charles Manyuchi’s remarkable win on Friday night, Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane yesterday revealed he “could not hold back the tears” adding the boxer “has what it takes to be the best”.
Manyuchi created a new chapter in the boxing world after beating Russia’s Dmitry Mikhaylenko to emerge the Boxing World Council welterweight silver champion.
The 27-year-old defied the odds to beat Mikhaylenko before a capacity 27 000 home crowd for the Russian at the DIVS Hockey Arena in Ekaterinburg.
Manyuchi was absolutely unstoppable in the ring as he set out to break the Russian boxer’s 22 professional fights undefeated.
The Mutoko-born fighter outboxed the Russian and was declared champion by unanimous decision with a scorecard of 116-114; 118-110 and 115-113.
The win was Manyuchi’s 15th straight and his second straight on European soil having successfully defended his WBC title when he stopped Italian Gianluca Freeza in Venice via a technical knockout last year.
“A very big congratulations to … Manyuchi for winning the much-coveted WBC welterweight silver championship fight in Russia,” Hlongwane said yesterday.
“The whole nation of Zimbabwe not only celebrates with Manyuchi for raising Zimbabwe’s flag high but also for winning this coveted prize for the country and for himself.
“Manyuchi represents the voices of many a talent in our rural communities who have not been integrated into our sports systems and that’s why there is need for transformation of the reach of sport as a sector.
“When I got the news from him yesterday (Friday) that he had won, I could not contain a tear dropping out of my eye, being touched by his achievement, knowing too well how this journey was almost derailed by mischievous elements.
“I see Manyuchi landing gold in the not-too-distant future.”
Manyuchi has essentially run through every opponent he has faced thus far. Since turning professional in 2009, the fighter has not received meaningful assistance from the locals.
In search of the best platform to fulfil his hopes, the boxer had to relocate to Zambia where he is fighting under the Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions.
After joining the Zambian stable, Manyuchi’s stock started to rise beating Ghanaian Patrick Allotey to claim the vacant WBC welterweight title back in March 2014.
The 27-year-old followed up that victory by successfully defending his belt when he beat Colombian Devis Casseres by a second round technical knockout in November of the same year. He went on to defend his title when he stopped Italian Gianluca Freeza in Venice via a technical knockout last year.
Manyuchi’s victory is one of the feelgood stories of the sporting year after his career was put on hold earlier this year after he fell out with his Zambian promoters.
It took the intervention of Hhlongwane, who successfully organised talks between the two parties resulting in their reunion.