Time running out for Manyuchi

HARARE - With only 11 days to go before Charles Manyuchi’s historic fight on home soil, his promoters Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions (OQBP) are still running around to tie down an opponent.

Initially, Manyuchi, who is the current World Boxing Council (WBC) silver welterweight champion, was scheduled to defend his title against Damien Martin of France at the Harare International Conference Centre on October 14.

However, OQBP failed to agree terms with the Frenchman, who pulled out of the fight under unclear circumstances.

As a result, Manyuchi’s promoters settled for Colombian fighter Jose Agustin Julio Feria to replace Martin on the bill.

Feria has also pulled out of the bout, leaving OQBP to run around looking for a replacement to step in.

The Daily News understands that Manyuchi is now likely to face a yet-to-be confirmed boxer from Tanzania in a non-title fight on the night.

Manyuchi’s manager Chris Malunga yesterday refused to be drawn into disclosing who will be his fighter’s next opponent, saying “they will announce in due course”.

“We will issue a statement on the identity of his opponent. There is no reason for the delay of his name,” Malunga said.

“There is plan A and plan B. When a fight is put in place there is always plan A and if anything goes wrong there is plan B.

“There are contractual obligations and they need to be exhausted before you come up and say anything. You need to be cautious. I can’t give any details now but don’t be surprised if I call you in a day or two to unveil the name of the opponent.”

With no title defence in sight, Manyuchi might fall foul to the strict WBC mandatory fight regulations.

According to the regulations, the WBC seeks to stop champions from freezing out titles due to inactivity. A WBC champion is required to defend his title at least every 90 to 120 days.

In the event that this does not occur, a fighter can be stripped off his belt and the title will be declared vacant.

Manyuchi won his current title in May this year after he defeated Dmitry Mikhaylenko of Russia by a unanimous decision at the DIVS Arena in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

Now it is almost five months since the Zimbabwean last defended his title with his last bout with Deo Samwel in August downgraded to a non-title fight.

Malunga said although they are yet to secure an opponent for Manyuchi, they are confident the bout will still go ahead.

“We want to make sure the fight takes place in Zimbabwe. People want to see Charles Manyuchi fight in Zimbabwe and that is the reason why we are here,” he said.

“Manyuchi is in (Harare) already and we are expecting all the foreign boxers to arrive on the 9th. More details will be released in due course. Some boxers will travel by air and others will travel by road.”

Malunga also paid tribute to Mr T35 for providing transport to some boxers fighting on the undercard from Zambia.

“I must say thank you very much to Mr T35 for giving us transport for members of the media to transport them from Zambia to Zimbabwe and even for the boxers as well. We will also be working hand in hand with them to raise resources for this fight,” Malunga said.

“There are other sponsors who have come on board but we will only announce them at the right time. What we are getting on the ground now is for the interest of uplifting the sport.”

Manyuchi, who arrived in the country on Sunday from Zambia where he has been in camp preparing for the fight, said he is ready to make his country proud.  

“For me, I think I’m almost done with preparing. I’m just waiting for the day and I promise I’m going to make it for Zimbabwe, Zambia and Africa as a whole,” Manyuchi said.

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