Manyuchi goes for gold

HARARE - Zimbabwe boxing superstar Charles Manyuchi could be in line to challenge some of the world’s best fighters, his promoters at Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions (OQBP) revealed yesterday.

Manyuchi’s manager, Chris Malunga, who is due to travel to the United States of America this week for the 54th World Boxing Council (WBC) Convention, said they are hoping to use the platform to ensure the WBC silver welterweight champion edges closer to challenging for gold.

Manyuchi, who knocked out Colombian opponent Jose Agustin Julio Feria in the first round in a non-title fight in October, has to build a case to challenge for gold and to do so he has to fight top ranked boxers with American boxer Andre Berto emerging as a possible target.

Berto, who lost to Floyd Mayweather in September 2015, is currently ranked second and a fight with a boxer of such pedigree would raise Manyuchi’s profile, especially in the eyes of the gold championship matchmakers.

Manyuchi is scheduled to defend his silver welterweight title in February 2017 in Singapore against 23-year-old Qudratilo Abduqaxorov of Uzbekistan and is now awaiting for approval from the WBC.

And if Manyuchi defends his title against Abduqaxorov, he would then be in line for a possible re-match against the Russian Dmitry Mikhaylenko from which Malunga is hoping they would now be in a position to challenge for the gold.

“I am leaving on the 8th (Thursday) to Miami and the major issue why we are going there is that we want our WBC welterweight champion Charles Manyuchi to get closer to the WBC gold,” Malunga said yesterday at a press conference.

“That is the route and that’s what we are going to fight for in Miami. We will make sure that he moves forward towards the championship itself — the WBC gold. We want Manyuchi to fight for the WBC gold.”

Malunga added: “There are technical issues involved and whilst in Miami, we want to bring it to the attention of the WBC that Amir Khan has been given so many chances to fight for the WBC gold.

“He is not the only boxer and those are the things which you discuss in front of the board of governors.

“We will ask them why ... Khan is always given a chance to fight for the world title and I don’t think WBC will go by that direction, he can be rated number one. It gives an upper hand to Andre Berto and Manyuchi.

“This is so because for Manyuchi, the WBC silver championship was created for somebody to go and fight for the WBC gold. And Berto being a number two contender we can do an elimination bout between the two — Manyuchi and Berto.

The winner between the two is set to fight Danny Garcia who will be defending his title in March.

“It will be in the interest of fairness and interest of Africa and Zimbabwe that Manyuchi is given that opportunity in 2017 to fight for WBC gold.

“Manyuchi is a boxer who has come from a background of an African title which is affiliated with WBC — winning it by beating the champion and defending it,” added Malunga.

“He also won another WBC title before he defended it and the WBC silver welterweight title and is looking forward to defending it.

“The defence must be a process to get close to the WBC gold. Berto is the right opponent for Manyuchi since he is the number two contender but the thing is the number two contender might not be ready then Manyuchi being the WBC silver welterweight champion can be given the go ahead by the WBC to fight for the gold title.

“And as soon as you are given the go ahead by the WBC to fight for a senior title you will have to relinquish the junior title. My dream is to see him fight Berto. We are getting closer,” Malunga said.

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