Manyuchi's road to redemption

HARARE – After the chastening first round defeat to Qudratillo Abduqaxorov in March, Zimbabwean boxer Charles Manyuchi returns to the ring next month as he tries to get his career back on track.

The former World Boxing Council welterweight (silver) champion is scheduled to fight against Democratic Republic of Congo’s Sheriff Kasongo in an African Boxing Union welterweight title bout on July 2.

It has been a quiet three months for Zimbabwe’s number one boxer following his devastating defeat to Abduqaxorov in Singapore with the bout lasting only two minutes and 56 seconds.

Manyuchi’s handlers, Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions, are hosting the July 2 event in conjunction with Exodus Boxing Academy and Mitanda Boxing Promotion.

His manager Chris Malunga is equally cognisant of the fact that this fight against Kasongo is a make-or-break fight for the 27-year-old boxer as another defeat could prove catastrophic.

Manyuchi, with a record of 20-3-1 will have to be at his best against Kasongo, who only has one defeat in his 12 professional fights.

“The boxer (Manyuchi) and his coach know how important this bout is for him because once you are beaten everybody else would want to beat you,” Malunga told the Daily News from Zambia.

“Because of that defeat in Singapore, it took us a lot of effort to get him back to a positive frame of mind, naturally one loses lots of confidence and Charles hasn’t been an exception but credit to him.

“He is a professional and a true fighter and because he needed to mend the loss, he has been in camp earlier for close to a month now and has been doing very well.”

Manyuchi’s tactics were largely criticised for having contributed to the humbling loss to Abduqaxorov, a concern that Malunga, in the heat of the moment, described as “careless”.

“The technical approach was a bit bad on our side. Charles was careless. That’s his style of fighting (showboating) but I felt it was a bit early for him to do that,” Malunga told the Singaporean press after the defeat.

The style has been one area the boxer and his stable have been working on during the month-long intensive training away from the marauding crowd.

“He’s just looking forward to the fight, he has a had a change in his style of fighting which I cannot reveal at this point in time for technical reasons but be assured that he is a changed person now,” Malunga said.

Manyuchi, irked by the result and comments from dejected fans back home, backed himself to recover from the loss as he apologised for letting down the nation.

“There is nothing much I can say. I just want to say I’m sorry for disappointing my fans and my country. I will get back to my best and will continue fighting to be the best because I know I’m the best,” Manyuchi said.

Prior to the March defeat, Manyuchi had been the welterweight champion since March 2014 and in November the same year he managed to defend his WBC crown in Lusaka, Zambia against Colombian opponent Devis Casseres.

That same year, he was crowned Zimbabwe’s Sportsperson of the Year at the Annual National Sports Awards.

The following year, Manyuchi successfully defended his crown against Friuli-Venezia Giulia of Italy and in 2016, he travelled to Russia where he beat Dmitry Mikhaylenko.

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