Manyuchi's big day

HARARE - Charles Manyuchi will finally get recognition from Zimbabweans when President Robert Mugabe hosts a banquet for the World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight champion at State House today.

Since turning professional in 2009, Manyuchi has been slowly rising in the welterweight ranks culminating in his victory over Patrick Allotey of Ghana in March 2014 to secure the vacant WBC title.

The Mutoko-born boxer went on to defend his title against David Caceres of Colombia in November 2014.

Two weeks ago, Manyuchi defended his title again when he stopped Italian Gianlucca Frezza via a technical knockout in the sixth round in Venice.

This latest victory puts Manyuchi behind only Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Amir “King” Khan in the welterweight pecking order.

Despite all these achievements, Zimbabweans had barely noticed Manyuchi with his Zambian stable Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions working round the clock to promote his career.

At today’s banquet, Mugabe is expected to hand Manyuchi a diplomatic passport and a substantial amount of money.

The president glowingly spoke of Manyuchi’s exploits at his Munhumutapa offices during a meeting organised to fulfil the boxer’s desire of meeting his local hero upon his arrival from Italy last week.Manyuchi’s manager Christopher Malunga was pleased with the recognition coming his boxer’s way.

“The president said Zambia and Zimbabwe are twins and it is so encouraging hearing those words from the head of State. The way he recognised Zambia was so commendable, we are really happy,” Malunga told reporters last week.

“What made us also happy is that the president took us through his Cabinet and this is encouraging to us and also to Manyuchi’s family because during our discussions, his Excellency showed keen interest in Manyuchi’s welfare.

“I requested his Excellency that we need to have a tournament here so that we can come and teach our brothers (boxing promoters) how to do business.”
President Mugabe is also expected to address the debacle involving Manyuchi and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).

Upon arriving at Harare International Airport last week, Zimra officials confiscated Manyuchi’s trophy saying he needed to declare the gong.In the end, the boxer had to leave his passport behind with the Zimra officials for them to allow him to enter the country with the trophy.

Meanwhile, Young Warriors coach Calisto Pasuwa and captain Wisdom Mutasa are expected to attend the function at State House.

It is, however, not clear whether Pasuwa will attend the banquet after quitting the team on Tuesday over the Zimbabwe Football Association’s (Zifa) failure to pay him his outstanding salaries.

The Young Warriors are currently in camp preparing for Saturday night’s African Under-23 Championship second leg qualifier against South Africa at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg.

At yesterday’s training session, assistant coaches Nation Dube and Tembo Chuma were taking the squad through their paces while Pasuwa was nowhere to be seen.
The coach’s manager Gibson Mahachi said they had not reached an agreement with Zifa for Pasuwa to resume his duties.

However, ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture principal director Benson Dube said: “This is a Manyuchi function and we have just invited them (Pasuwa and Mutasa) to grace the occasion just like anyone else who is coming.

“It’s not like they are coming to see the president. We are inviting them as sporting people to be part of the occasion.”The Young Warriors are now expected to leave for South Africa tomorrow morning after Zifa received a bailout from FC Platinum Holdingsto secure tickets for the trip.

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