By Gilbert Munetsi
FORMER champion Charles Manyuchi’s dreams of reclaiming the WBC welterweight silver title have been rekindled following reports that the world boxing sanctioning body has declared it vacant after holder Qudratillo Abduxorov’s camp indicated the Uzbek would no longer able to defend it.
Sources told our Harare Bureau Abduxorov was not happy with facing Manyuchi for a second time.
The contract Manyuchi signed with Abduxorov’s camp stipulated that the Zimbabwean should be given a mandatory challenge in the event he lost his title as was the case when the two met at the OCBC Arena in Singapore on May 6 last year.
However, spirited efforts by the Zambian handlers of Manyuchi – Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions – for a rematch have been hitting a brickwall as the Uzbek has been elusive.
His last opponent for the successful defence of the belt was against Russian Dmitry Mikhaylenko, who was beaten by Manyuchi in his backyard at the DIVS Ekaterinberg Arena.
Abduxorov is reported to have come out of that fight severely bruised.
The Manyuchi-Abduxorov matter was brought before the WBC 55th Convention which ran between October 1-6 in Baku, Azerbaijan, at which the ruling to declare the title vacant was arrived at.
What it automatically means is that the Number One contender on the WBC welterweight ratings, Shawn Potter, will square off with a former super-lightweight, Adrian Proner, and the winner between the two may then fight Manyuchi.
Though he had been pushed to a distant 27th on the rankings, Manyuchi got a 15th place slot at the convention that makes him eligible to be a challenger.
‘‘While Clause 5 of their contract stipulates that should Manyuchi lose to Abduxorov, as happened in Singapore, the Zimbabwean would have the chance for a rematch.
‘‘But it appears the Uzbek’s camp have been changing goalposts and the matter was deliberated at length at the WBC where the president, Mauricio Sulaiman, requested to be furnished with the contract.
”The title was immediately declared vacant,’’ said the top WBC official.
A check on the official boxing website, Boxrec, confirmed the statement.
There are various avenues through which the darling of Zimbabwean boxing, Manyuchi, can redeem his lost glory.
Also declared vacant at the global boxing indaba was the WBC international title which he first won in Lusaka, Zambia, against Ghanaian Patrick Allotey (then 31-0-0) back in 2004.
He also has the option to begin from the lower rungs of the ladder by challenging for the African Boxing Union which has also been declared vacant by the WBC, which is the mother body of the ABU, after its former champion from Nigeria, Larry Ekundayo (W12-L1-D0), lost it following a defeat by Gary Corcoran in a WBO inter-continental contest.
Manyuchi has remained in active training mode since his last triumph against Congolese Sheriff Kasongo in an international friendly match in July this year.
In Harare, he works out at Otto Gym in Borrowdale as he awaits the call for camp at his base in Zambia. The Chronicle