The Herald (Harare)

18 March 2014

Zimbabwe: 'Bring On Mayweather'

ZIMBABWE'S first world boxing champion Charles Manyuchi keeps on dreaming big and is now aiming to take a golden crack at the highly rated Floyd Mayweather, who holds the diamond belt in the welterweight division.

Manyuchi wrote his own piece of history on Saturday when he beat Ghana's Patrick Allottey for the World Boxing Council belt in Zambia and now hopes to be a top contender to challenge the undefeated Mayweather.

The Zimbabwean pugilist returned home last night to a hero's welcome as he paraded his WBC belt.

Manyuchi said he will be taking a brief rest before defending his belt within the next three months.

"Before the fight, I thought that something would change if I became a world champion. But after the victory, I still remain the same old Charlie that people knew. It's only the title that has come along but nothing more," said Manyuchi.

Manyuchi's handlers Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions of Zambia will look for an opponent while at the same time the boxer still holds the African Boxing Union belt in the same division.

"It was my dream to surpass the records set by Langton Schoolboy Tinago and Zvenyika Arifonso, who held Commonwealth titles.

"Now that I have achieved the feat of becoming a world champion I now want to achieve more. For now I have to defend my belt within 90 days if we manage to find an opponent.

"If I win, I hope to be a strong contender to fight Mayweather because we are in the same division," said Manyuchi yesterday.

International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Devon Alexander, former World Boxing Association champion Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana are all lining up to fight Mayweather, who is rated as the best pound-for-pound boxer by many sports news stations around the world.

"To reach that goal of fighting Mayweather, I have to be the number one contender," he said.

According to the last ratings, the newly crowned world champion was placed as the 26th best boxer in the division while the American showboy Mayweather, who is friends with singers Justin Bieber and Curtis Jackson, popularly known as 50 Cent, leads the pack.

Manyuchi is hopeful that his best days still lie ahead if he remains focused on his career as a professional boxer.

"I want to reach the same heights like Sugar Ray Leonard. I think I am capable of doing great in future because I have a big heart. I prayed to God before the fight and that's why I won," said Manyuchi, who always carries a bible into the ring before every bout.

Otis Manyuchi, who is the boxer's father and local trainer, is strongly convinced that his son can be able to match the Las Vegas showman -- Mayweather -- if given the opportunity.

"As his father and trainer, I feel very proud that Charles is now a world champion. When he became a continental champion we slaughtered a goat and now it has to be a cow for the celebrations. He is the first Zimbabwean to win a world boxing belt and I wish all the people in Zimbabwe join us in supporting him. We need sponsors to host the next fights here in Zimbabwe since we now have a world champion.

"Last year, we failed to host even a single boxing tournament because sponsors mainly focus on football. Now imagine what we could achieve if we fight against Mayweather," said Otis, a former boxer himself.

Otis said his son is not fazed at the prospect of facing the undisputed champion Mayweather if the chance comes.

"Mayweather could be unbeaten but he is still human. I know he has a tendency of picking opponents that he underrates but he should be careful against Charlie. I was talking to the Ghanaian guy (Allotey) before the match and he was telling everyone that he would win, but look what happened," said Otis.

Charles Manyuchi's professional record now stands at 17 victories, one defeat and one draw. During the fight in Zambia on Saturday, Manyuchi had his father in his corner while his mother and sister also took seats by the ring side.

Meanwhile, Delta Force Boxing promotions manager Clyde Musonda, who travelled to watch the fight said Manyuchi had done Zimbabwe proud.

"He had a good fight and he needs to up his game because competition is getting tougher. I hope he is at least getting good training in Zambia where the people are fond of the sport," said Musonda.

Musonda said Manyuchi's uppercuts delivered from the second round were handy in winning the bout after three other Zimbabweans Chamunorwa Gonorenda, Takudzwa Kuchocha and Monalisa Sibanda has lost in the supporting fights.

"Allotey wanted to throw body punches in the first round and that was his game plan. But Manyuchi was throwing punches in the upper body and that gave him the edge in what was a tough fight," said Musonda.

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