CHARLES Manyuchi’s father, Otis, who is also his trainer, says he told his son to try and knockout his Italian opponent Gianluca Frezza on Saturday night. And, the Zimbabwean duly delivered a sixth round stoppage of Frezza to successfully defend his WBC international welterweight title in Italy. Otis, a former boxer, said he had advised his son to finish the job early.
Manyuchi is also the African Boxing Union welterweight champion.
“I told him to go out there, try to get a knockout. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, considering his opponent was at home,” said Otis.
“Sometimes it’s tricky to get a win on points after going all the way, especially with a guy who was at home, but we’re happy he got a knockout.”
Former Commonwealth flyweight champion, Zvenyika “Mosquito” Arifonso, yesterday joined the nation in celebrating Manyuchi’s achievements.
“He’s shown that he’s one of the best fighters we’ve around at the moment,” said Arifonso.
“That’s a mark of a true champion to go out there and get a knockout win over an opponent and away from home.
“I think there’s more to come from him if he continues to get the right support and advice.”
Arifonso said Manyuchi showed great character to register a knockout in his first bout outside Africa.
“Manyuchi’s victory has shown that previous results were not by a stroke of luck. He has proved his critics wrong.
“I used to get the same treatment when I was winning when some people would still not believe that I was that good.
“As a former champion myself, I’m very proud of this achievement and I’m open to give any advice if his camp approaches me,” said Arifonso.
Manyuchi is expected home this evening with the Zimbabwe Boxing Control Board chairperson Paul Nenjarama having already sent a congratulatory message to the boxer and his handlers.
Nenjarama said he was proud that for once boxing was being portrayed in a positive limelight.
“Congratulations for the fantastic result of a sixth round win. We’re very proud of the result that has put Manyuchi, Oriental Quarries’ Boxing Club, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Africa on the pedestal.
“Your efforts haven’t been in vain and the Zimbabwe Boxing Control Board is over the moon on this latest achievement,” said Nenjarama.
However, there was silence from the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture.
The Sports Commission, too, appeared not in a rush to congratulate Manyuchi despite the boxer making the country proud with his victory in Italy.
Manyuchi has always felt that he is not given the support and respect he deserves at home while he is hailed as a superstar in Zambia.
Yesterday, all the noise was coming from across the Zambezi with the Zambia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Board of Control chairperson, Nelson Sapi, congratulating Manyuchi for retaining the belt.
Sapi said in Lusaka the boxer’s performance showed that Africa was able to produce great boxers.
He even said Manyuchi’s victory puts him in position to challenge for the world title held by American boxing legend, Floyd Mayweather Junior.
“May our good Lord continue to protect Floyd Mayweather so that he doesn’t retire early but give Manyuchi a chance of meeting him in the ring so that the world can see what Africa is able to offer in Manyuchi,” said Sapi.
Meanwhile, a group of boxing fans going under the banner “Friends of Manyuchi” are mobilising Zimbabweans to go in their numbers to welcome the boxer at the Harare International Airport.
The Friends of Manyuchi spokesperson Zivanai Mawashu said the boxer deserved a rousing welcome following his fine exploits in flying the country’s flag high. — Sports Reporter/Sportszone.