Charles Manyuchi has been a man on a mission to conquer the globe

Charles Manyuchi
Charles Manyuchi

 It’s a trans-Zambezi tag team of boxer and promoter that has the potential of producing a world champion as good as unbeaten and undisputed world champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather.

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Charles Manyuchi has been a man on a mission to conquer the globe, with a little helping hand from his Zambian handlers, by eventually getting a crack at the WBC welterweight championship.

And, for some time now, things have been going according to plan.

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Last month, in Lusaka, Manyuchi got one step closer to fulfilling his dream by dominating Ghanaian boxer Patrick Allotey and knocking him out in the eighth round to win the WBC welterweight international belt.

Then, at a small ceremony in his hometown of Masvingo, in the southern part of Zimbabwe, to honour his grand achievement, something went horribly wrong and, suddenly, a trans-Zambezi relationship made in heaven between boxer and management was on the line.

Reports claim Manyuchi bemoaned the treatment that he has received from Zimbabweans, where he hasn’t been treated with the same hero status that was reserved for such sporting icons like Kirsty Coventry, who made history when she became the first Zimbabwean to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, 10 years ago.

Although the Zimbabwe national women’s hockey team, known here as the Golden Girls, won gold at the Moscow Olympics in 1980, no Zimbabwean sportsperson had captured a medal, of any colour, at the biggest sporting event on the globe in the individual events until Coventry became an Olympic champion in Athens.

Manyuchi, who is a celebrity star in Zambia where he trains and fights, was also reported to have criticised the payments that he has been receiving from his handlers, which the reports claimed were of a lower value compared to what was being paid to Zambian fighters who had not scaled the heights that he had now touched in world boxing.

The reports even suggested that his management team, Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions, had dangled a Zambian citizenship if Manyuchi wanted to earn more, from fighting in that country, because Zambian firms would flock to support a local champion than one from south of the Zambezi.

When the reports surfaced in the Zambian media, Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions were furious and demanded that Manyuchi issue an apology or they would cancel their relationship that has already taken the Zimbabwean boxer into the top 30 in the world with more expected to come, in terms of success, in the next few years.

Manyuchi told The Southern Times that he never criticised his Zambian handlers and quotes, which came from the mayor of Masvingo, were somehow attributed to him during the ceremony.

“I’m a professional sportsman and I know what to say and what not to say and I know, even if I have any issues, that I feel must be addressed, I have to discuss them with my management team and not in the media and it’s unfortunate that this misunderstanding has arisen when I didn’t say anything to cause any offence,” said Manyuchi.

“I have a lot of respect to those guys in Zambia because they have given me a chance to pursue my dream to become a world champion and they have supported me and it’s because of their help that I am where I am right now.

“They have even allowed me to go into the ring with my Zimbabwean flag, every time I fight, and I think I owe it to all the Zambians because they have taken me as one of them and I guess we are just one people.

“Obviously, given my status right now as a champion, I know that whatever I say will be scrutinized very much but I never said anything to hurt the guys who have helped me and I am quite sure that by the end of it all they will also see that this was a mistake because someone said the words that were attributed to me.”

Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions manager, Chris Malunga, believes Manyuchi has incredible talent but needs to retain his focus and also monitor what he says because he was now a big sports star in the world.

“We have been very good to Charles and we were very upset when we read all that stuff that we have been giving him a raw deal because we feel, as a company, that we have done a lot for him and it pains us when lies are deliberately put in the newspapers which end up tarnishing our good name,” Malunga told The Southern Times.

“Zambian citizenship is not an easy thing to get a foreigner and it has never been our intention to try and get citizenship for Charles because we took him as a Zimbabwean, trained him as a Zimbabwean and we want to make him a champion as a Zimbabwean.

“As far as we are concerned Zimbabwe and Zambia are one country and we feel it’s not right that some people can try and tarnish our good name when we have done so much for Charles and if he wants the Zimbabwe Government to help him, he should do it in a proper way, a dignified way, and not use our name in that process.

“Charles also needs to be careful about what he says because if he dreams of one day fighting Floyd Mayweather he should give him some respect because he is the champion and you don’t mock a champion by saying that he can run like a rat because that is disrespectful.”

Southern Times Africa 

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