The Sunday Mail
CHARLES MANYUCHI’s head might have endured hundreds of punches since his professional debut a decade ago, but only one date is etched in the boxer’s memory.
Four years ago, on July 30, 2015, Manyuchi realised his long cherished dream of meeting former President Robert Mugabe, when he was treated to a royal bash, before walking out of State House US$50 000 richer.
The State House bash was organised after Manyuchi had knocked out Gianluca Frezza of Italy to retain the World Boxing Council International welterweight title in Sequals on July 17, 2015.
Manyuchi was 26 at the time and his career was on an upwards trajectory.
Manyuchi is now 30 and in search of a road to recovery after losing his WBC belts. Former President Mugabe is also gone and the boxer is seeking a way to appease the spirit of Zimbabwe’s founding father, who passed away on September 6.
Manyuchi has a crucial fight on September 28. The bout could enhance his status on the international boxing arena.
He takes on Diego Diaz Gallardo of Argentina for the vacant World Boxing Federation world middleweight title at the Harare International Conference Centre in a fight that he is dedicating to the late former President Mugabe.
“Everyone knows how the late former President Mugabe appreciated my boxing talent. At one time, I was invited to the State House and got a whopping US$50 000, that was a lot of money.
“So, as I prepare to take on Gallardo, I am motivated by the need to do it (win) in remembrance of the late former President Mugabe.
“The good thing is that President Emmerson Mnangagwa is also very supportive of my boxing career, he has often given me words of encouragement and my wish is that, if time permits, may the President be present at Harare International Conference to witness the demolition of Gallardo.
“I was down yes, but I am certainly not out. Manyuchi is rising again and I am doing this for the pride of my beloved nation,” Manyuchi said.
This will be Manyuchi’s 29th professional bout since making his debut with a victory over Isaac Phonkeni at Raylton Sports Club on February 14, 2009.
Manyuchi now has a 23-4-1 record after defeating Ezequiel Acosta of Argentina in a Global Boxing Union title fight held at the HICC on May 25.
“I have spoken about the restoration of Manyuchi, it’s happening now. I am working hard in the gym now, training thrice a day.
“Gallardo looks like he will be a more difficult opponent than Acosta, but all the same, he will fall in Harare.”
Manyuchi is now ranked 40th on the world middleweight rankings.
The 39-year-old Gallardo, who is ranked 89th on the world middleweight rankings, also has 29 professional bouts and has won 22 (13 by Kos), lost six and drawn once.
He lost his last fight to countryman Billi Facundo Gody, who is ranked 85th in the world.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico, who holds the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation middleweight titles, remains the top ranked pugilist in this division.
The highest ranked African boxer in the middleweight division is Walter Kautondokwa of Namibia, who is ranked 25th and is the reigning World Boxing Organisation Africa middleweight champion.