Manyuchi shifts focus to Ortiz

HARARE - Zimbabwean boxer Charles Manyuchi will now meet Mexican Silverio Ortiz in defence of his World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight title on April 25.

The Zimbabwean was initially scheduled to defend his belt against Russian David Avanesya on March 28 in Lusaka, Zambia, but the bout was cancelled after both parties failed to reach an agreement on the venue.

Manyuchi, who was scheduled to travel to Zambia last week to start his final preparations for the March 28 fight, is still in the country and is currently training at the Active Gym in the capital.

The 26-year-old says the postponement will work as an advantage for him as it will give him enough time to prepare for the challenge posed by Ortiz.

“Such things always happen in boxing and this will work to my advantage because I will have extra time to train adequately,” Manyuchi told the Daily News yesterday.

“I am currently preparing for the fight as I am still waiting to travel to Zambia any time from now but I think by next week I will be in Zambia.

“I am confident that I will manage to defend this title. I think my Russian opponent pulled out because he knew I was going to make life tough for him.

“Even my new opponent must know that it is not easy to beat me, one thing I know is that I will win my fight.”

Ortiz, 32, who uses an orthodox stance, has an average record of 34 (KO 16) wins and 14 loses in his 48 professional bouts.

The last time he was in a ring was on December 20 last year when he beat his compatriot Juan Jesus Rivera by a technical knockout at Arena Quequi in Cancun Mexico.

Manyuchi, who is the reigning Zimbabwe Sports Person of the Year and rated the 28th best welterweight boxer in the world by the WBC, will start the bout as the favourite to retain his title.

The Zimbabwean has a healthy record of 21 wins, two loses and one draw in 24 fights.

“My wish is to fight the number one in the near future, so there is nothing to fear, as a boxer I am geared to face any opponent,” he said.

The boxer’s stock has risen since he beat Ghanaian Patrick Allotey to claim the vacant WBC welterweight title back in March last year.

Manyuchi followed up that victory by successfully defending his belt when he beat Colombian Devis Casseres by a second round technical knockout in November last year.

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