'More boxing tournaments to come'

HARARE - Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane yesterday said Friday night’s non-title fight between Zimbabwe’s Charles Manyuchi and Colombian Jose Agustin Feria is the beginning of more good things to come for local boxing fans.

This will be Manyuchi’s first fight on home soil since June 2012 when he beat Silas Mandeya in his home town of Masvingo. 

“We are expecting a full house to witness one of the biggest fights to be ever held in Zimbabwe,” Hlongwane said during a press conference held at Acting President Phelekezela Mphoko’s office yesterday.

“We are going to be hosting a lot more tournaments in a view to promote the sport in the country. We are happy more people are showing interest in the growing sport and also more promoters are coming in.

“Mr T35 has now been registered as official boxing promoter with the body and there are two more as well.”

Manyuchi was initially scheduled to fight Damien Martin of France in defence of his World Boxing Council silver welterweight title.

Martin pulled out of the fight on the last minute under unclear circumstances. This resulted in the promoters settling for the lowly ranked Feria.

Manyuchi expressed confidence ahead of the fight saying he is geared up for Friday’s non-title fight and will treat the bout as important as any other he has had before.

“I’m a man of few words but what I can say is that this is my country, I will take him like my student and I will teach him a lesson,” Manyuchi said.

“I’m a diplomat and I treat him like a diplomat as well. I would like to urge the fans to come in their numbers and watch their boy in action.”

Manyuchi added that his fight against Feria should open the doors to resurrect the boxing sport in the country.

“I would like to thank the government for allowing this fight to be staged here,” he said.

“I hope after this fight, boxing will rise again in the country. This fight should actually be the turnaround of the sport in the country. What I can say to the people out there is that it’s going to be a tough fight but I will win easily.”

Manyuchi’s opponent Feria was equally confident when he addressed the media.

“It’s a pleasure to be in the country but I have come here to fight and hopefully I will win,” he said.  

“I hope it will be a good fight and I win the bout. I have come here from my country which is very far away and I would like to give my best to ensure I win the fight.”

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