Tadious Manyepo, Harare Bureau
MODERCAI Donga quit boxing at about the same time Charles Manyuchi was working his way to stardom.
The 41-year-old former soldier chose to commit his energy on his other passion, law.
He is now a practising lawyer in Swaziland.
Boxing has literally forgotten about him.
But he feels he has unfinished business, especially against the man who beat him into retirement, Manyuchi.
The two are scheduled to face-off on December 21 at the Harare Show Grounds.
Of course, before Manyuchi returned the favour, Donga had previously outsmarted the now 30-year-old.
And, for good measure, he remains the only local pugilist to have beaten Manyuchi to date.
But the two are now worlds apart.
Manyuchi has written his own intriguing piece in the sport, having at one point held the prestigious World Boxing Council Silver welterweight title.
As soon as he failed to defend that crown in March 2017, via a Knock-Out defeat of Uzbek’s Qudratillo Abduqaxov, Manyuchi appeared crest-fallen.
But, he has since rediscovered himself.
If anything, he has made history by becoming the first boxer from this country to win a world title after he beat Diego Diaz Gallardo of Argentina to claim the World Boxing Federation middleweight title in September.
Manyuchi had, on May 25, dislodged another Argentine Pablo Ezequiel Acosta to win the intercontinental UBC and GBU unification crown.
But it is the manner in which the Chivhu-based fighter was making easy work of his opponents that forced Donga out of retirement.
“I cannot really say I am the one who challenged Manyuchi. It is boxing stakeholders in Zimbabwe who persistently questioned the pedigree of his back-to-back Argentine opponents he faced in his last two fights,’’ said Donga.
“My name was randomly thrown into the fray since I am one of the few boxers who have beaten him clean in the past.
“The Charles Manyuchi camp then dared me to come and fight Manyuchi. They said their boxer would beat me anywhere, any time.
“That is when I decided to take it.”
Donga said he stands to get nothing but Zimbabwe boxing will gain a lot.
“It is the nation that wants me to fight Manyuchi. They know I will beat him. I need to prove that he has been getting easy opponents,’’ said Donga.
“His tactics are horrific. I need to teach him how to properly fight. I will knock him out and the sport will benefit a lot rather than having him parading himself as if he beats every fighter in the country.”
The former paratrooper and captain in the Zimbabwe National Army, who sits on the Zimbabwe Boxing Control Board, insists he isn’t having special preparations ahead of the hyped match-up.
Donga said his pursuit for academic excellence forced him out of the boxing ring.
Manyuchi’s camp believe the fight could even be called off as they doubt Donga will be able to come down to the required weight.
Already, there is a discord between the two camps on which weight category the duo will contest.
Manyuchi’s coach, Ali Phiri, insists the pugilists will square off in the middleweight section while Donga says it is supposed to be a super-middleweight fight.
“Donga is overweight and can’t get down to 72kg. If the fight goes on, he will lose in the third round,” said Phiri.
But Donga, who claims to be carrying 79kg, reckons he is “preparing for a super-middleweight duel.”