By Langton Nyakwenda
Desperate Zimbabwean boxing champion Charles Manyuchi has appealed for local support as he battles to find a promoter for his World Boxing Council International welterweight title defence.
Manyuchi, whose last successful defence was against Italian Gianlunca Freeza in July last year, has a month-end deadline to defend his title.
However, the World Boxing Council could give him leeway if he manages to get a handler who will request for an extension on behalf of the embattled boxer.
Manyuchi has dropped one place to 13th on the sanctioning body’s rankings.
A sanction fee of about $3000, which is a guarantee that a defence bout will be organized in a specified time, should also accompany the extension request.
Failure to do so could force the WBC to strip the 26-year-old of his belt or subject the out of shape Manyuchi to a mandatory defence. Manyuchi, who has been taking a rest in Chivhu, says he can only be fit for a fight early April.
Despite speculative interest from an American manager and the confirmed contact from Namibian promoter Nestor Tobias, Manyuchi has revealed that he would prefer local support as he craves for a defence on home soil.
“There has been some interest from foreign promoters but nothing tangible has come out of it.
“I am pleading for local support now, the country cannot lose this belt. I have defended this title twice in foreign lands and my wish now is to do it in front of the home crowd.
“But to do so I have to get local support because if I get a foreign manager he might obviously choose to host the fight in his homeland,” said Manyuchi.
Sources close to the boxer claim that the American manager has sent Manyuchi a contract but the boxing champion is yet to sign it. There are also indications are that the pugilist has turned down Tobias of Namibia.
“Yes I am desperate but I should not be gullible. As a champion, I have to get the right handlers. Besides, my wish has always been to showcase my talent in front of Zimbabweans and for that to easily happen, the locals have to intervene,” he said.
An estimated $90 000 is required to host a WBC title fight.
Manyuchi wrestled the WBC International welterweight belt from Patrice Allotey of Ghana in March 2014 and his first successful defence was against Devis Caceres of Colombia in Lusaka, Zambia the following November.
Last July, he shocked the international boxing fraternity when he floored Italian champion Freeza in front of his own crowd in the sixth round. Manyuchi’s record stands at 17-2-1 and he is rated the 44th best welterweight boxer on the world rankings. The Sunday Mail