HUGE uncertainty surrounds Charles Manyuchi’s highly-anticipated World Boxing Council (WBC) silver welterweight voluntary title defence scheduled for the Harare International Conference in a fortnight. BY HENRY MHARA
The 26-year-old is set to fight Colombian Jose Agustin Julio Feria on October 14, in his first major bout in front of his home crowd.
He was initially supposed to face Damien Martin, but the Frenchman withdrew from the fight under unclear circumstances.
While Manyuchi’s handlers Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions (OQBP) have since announced the change in their client’s opponent, WBC on their official website, are yet to confirm the identity of the challenger.
Amid heightening fears that the fight would not take place, or that they would pick a weaker opponent for Manyuchi as a stop-gap measure, OQBP manager Chris Malunga on Wednesday released fight cards for six supporting acts of the night.
However, there was no mention of Manyuchi’s fight, which is the main bout, and when quizzed to clarify, Malunga said he would “soon” hold a Press conference to explain.
A boxing expert who spoke to NewsDaySport yesterday expressed some concern on the developments.
“This is supposed to be one of the greatest days in the country’s sports in terms of boxing. Hosting such a big event would go a long way in developing the sport, but I’m afraid it’s turning out to be a damp squib. First, we were told Manyuchi would fight Damien Martin, which in my opinion, was a decent fight and now we have this Colombian guy who were are not even sure will pitch up. It’s very difficult to get a serious boxer two weeks before a fight. No genuine boxer would want to risk his reputation by facing Manyuchi who has been in camp for a long time now preparing for it. I’m afraid his promoters might end up picking a nobody just to make the fight happen,” said the promoter.
Manyuchi is currently camped in Zambia preparing for the fight, which is a warm-up bout for his mandatory title defence fight next month.
The boxing superstar has hinted on a possible rematch with Russian boxer Dmitry Mikhaylenko on November 18.
In August, he posted on his Facebook page: “Rematch, Russia there I come again.”
Manyuchi has a record of 19-2-1 and is the fourth-best welterweight boxer on the WBC ratings.
He is ranked number 21 out of the 2 183 boxers on the world rankings across all major governing bodies.
Only Amir Khan, his WBC silver welterweight crown predecessor, Andre Berto, who lost on points to the legendary Floyd Mayweather (Jr) in September last year, and Shawn Potter are higher placed than Manyuchi on the WBC rankings.