For the first time in a very long time, Charles Manyuchi will not be the main attraction on a night the Zimbabwean is billed to fight. The former World Boxing Council silver welterweight takes the first steps on the road to redemption in a non-title bout against lowly-ranked Zambia-based DRC boxer Sherif Kasongo at Zmart Hall in Ndola tonight.
The fight will be one of seven undercard bouts lined up for the African Boxing Union main draw in which Manyuchi’s stable mate Alfred Muwowo fights Tanzania’s Haji Juma for the flyweight title. Last October, 27-year-old Manyuchi was the centre of attraction at the Harare International Conference Centre as he knocked out Colombian Jose Feria in a non-title fight, with Muwowo one of the undercards.
Now Manyuchi is on Muwowo’s undercard, thanks to a lackadaisical approach that saw him relinquish his title to Qudratillo Abduqaxorov of Uzbekistan in Singapore in March. While Abduqaxorov prepares to defend his WBC silver welterweight title against Dmitry Mikhaylenko of Russia on July 9, Manyuchi has to start afresh with a low-key fight against Kasongo, who is ranked 614th in the world.
Manyuchi’s camp will be hoping that Abduqaxorov successfully defends his belt, and then pray that the Asian champion’s handlers will own up to a rematch clause reportedly inserted in their contract. Manyuchi has been in camp for the past month and last week his management team posted a video clip of a training session on Facebook.
There is optimism in Manyuchi’s camp that the former champion will return to the top, and the boxer’s father Otis sounded confident after visiting him in Zambia last week. “That defeat in Singapore is now water under the bridge, my son is a strong boy,” said Manyuchi’s father. “He is 100 percent fit and he will prove he is still the Charles of old on July 2 (today).”
Manyuchi’s defeat in Singapore saw him tumble to 17th on the WBC welterweight rankings and his handlers accepted liability for the loss before promising to change the boxer’s style (exposing his guard). On his part the boxer apologised for the shoddy show in East Asia and pledged to prove he is still a prize fighter.
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