Will Russia smile on Manyuchi again?

CHARLES MANYUCHI flies into Russia today, from his adopted Zambian base, ahead of next Sunday’s non-title fight against Russian champion Magomed Kurbanov at the DIVS Arena a confident man.

After all the DIVS Arena is the scene of Manyuchi’s memorable capture of the World Boxing Council Silver welterweight title two years ago. Although this time the Zimbabwean returns to Russia hoping to revive a waning career instead of hunting for some gold his camp is bubbling with confidence.

“The boxer (Manyuchi) is in great shape and he knows this one is an important fight for him. It’s a non-title fight but one that will vastly improve Charlie’s rating should he win it,” said the boxer’s manager Chris Malunga.

“The preparations have been excellent, the boxer is looking forward to the fight. This is a very important match because it gives him (Manyuchi) a chance to show the world that he still has what it takes to challenge for big belts.”

The 28-year-old Manyuchi squares up against undefeated World Boxing Organisation International super welterweight champion Kurbanov (23), who has 11 knockouts in 14 bouts since turning pro in 2015. But speaking from his training base in Lusaka, Zambia, Manyuchi said he is not reading much into his opponent’s record and declared himself ready for the fight.

“I am ready to rumble, everything is in place and am just waiting for the fight night,” said Manyuchi who has won his last two fights since losing the WBC belt to Qudratillo Abduqaxorov in March last year. Another victory against Kurbanov — in his 27th professional fight — could set the Zimbabwean up for another shot at an international title. Apart from the WBC title which Manyuchi’s handlers are also targeting the International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Organisation and World Boxing Association super welterweight International titles. Manyuchi is now ranked the 35th best boxer in the world while Kurbanov is at number 22. The Russian has won six fights at the DIVS Arena, making it his favourite hunting ground but Manyuchi also believes the Ekaterinburg ring also inspires him to raise his game.

“I am aware of his (Kurbanov) pedigree but boxing is not about one’s record, it’s about one’s performance on the day.

“I am ready for him, I want to make this a special day for Zimbabweans…remember this is where I won the WBC title,” Manyuchi said.

Manyuchi’s most recent fight was a TKO win against unheralded Tanzanian boxer Karage Suba in Zambia on April 28, which took his record to 22-3-1.

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