By Tadious Manyepo
Charles Manyuchi’s journey towards redemption continued to gather momentum when he became the first boxer from this country to win a world title in the early hours of yesterday.
Manyuchi beat Argentine fighter Diego Diaz Gallardo via a third-round technical knockout at the Harare International Conference Centre to land the World Boxing Federation world middleweight title.
The former World Boxing Council silver welterweight champion paid tribute to former and current boxers for the feat.
“I’m ecstatic after this win over Gallardo. Look at what he has done in the past. He is a fantastic star but it’s only that I had a good strategy to counter him,’’ said Manyuchi.
“Becoming the first person to do anything is always remarkable. Knowing that I am the first Zimbabwean to win a world title makes me feel even more inspired.
“But, this is not for me, definitely not for my family alone. It is our achievement as a country.
“Let me also make it clear that it is fellow boxers, both amateur and professional, who help me do what I have just done.
“Former boxers also played their part. They laid the foundation which we are building on.”
Zimbabwe Professional Boxing Control Board chairman Richard Hondo congratulated Manyuchi.
“As the board, we would like to congratulate the new World Boxing Federation middleweight champion Charles Manyuchi,’’ said Hondo.
“I can also confirm that Manyuchi is the first world champion from Zimbabwe. Of course, others have done remarkably well in the game but Manyuchi is the first to bring home a world title.’’
He said the legendary Langton” Schoolboy” Tinago, who died in July last year, also remains the best-ranked fight by the World Boxing Council.
Tinago was at one time ranked sixth in the world. Fresh from being treated to some bruising battles in the preceding supporting act, including the WBF lightweight title fight between Brandon Denes and Malawi’s Byson Gwayani, which the Zimbabwean claimed via a knockout in the penultimate round of 12, the fans’ attention switched to the main bout.
But, as soon as the opening bell sounded, at about 12:17am yesterday, Manyuchi showed no intentions of giving his opponent a chance and 14 minutes later, it was all over.
He was always in control as he toyed with the 39-year-old veteran, a two-time holder of the belt.
His combinations always appeared programmed to end the bout early but, somehow, Gallardo managed to survive the first two rounds.
But there was no way he was going to stand the third-round blitzkrieg.
Referee Patrick Mukondiwa had to step in, to save the Argentine, giving the fight to Manyuchi via a technical knockout.
The Zimbabwean took his record to 24-4-1.
“I’m overjoyed by this big win. Gallardo is a good boxer but my strategy worked very well,’’ said Manyuchi.
“I put a lot in training in the past three months. I had to sharpen my strengths and improve on my weaknesses.
“The fans were amazing today. Thank you so much Zimbabwe. This victory is for you all. We did this together.
“I am short for words when it comes to our sponsors. I appreciate their sincerity in helping us out. They include NetOne, Nyaradzo, Majestics, Country Lodges and Tinmac Foundation, among others. Without them I am nothing.”
Manyuchi’s principal sponsors, Tinmac Foundation, whose director Tinoda Machakaire was part of the crowd, pledged a windfall for all boxers from the boxer’s Chivhu stable.
“As Tinmac Foundation, we would like to congratulate Charles Manyuchi and his boxers for flying high the country’s flag. We will soon be announcing the full package for the boxers,’’ he said.
“We are proud to be associated with the Charles Manyuchi brand.’’
The foundation gave Manyuchi $100 000 in May after his victory over Acosta.Fittingly, boxers from the Chivhu stable showed they are under the tutelage of a good leader with strong performances.
Young Tinashe Majoni and Tatenda Biningu also won the national titles in the super flyweight and bantamweight categories.
Women International Boxing Association super bantamweight title holder Kudakwashe Chiwandire knocked out Malawi’s Euria Matoga while Hasan Milanzi did the same to Audrey Masamba, also from Malawi, in the same category. The Herald