23 March 2014

Zimbabwe: Manyuchi Courts SA's Heedern

WORLD and African welterweight champions Charles Manyuchi is courting South Africa's Chris van Heedern for the second defence of his African Boxing Union (ABU) belt.

Manyuchi, through his Zambian stable Oriental Quarries Promotion, has written to van Heedern's handlers for the fight that is supposed to be held within the next three months.

The Zimbabwean claimed the ABU title from Burkinabe Patrice Toke last June before defending it against Isaac Sowah from Ghana three months later.

Now, van Heedern has been lined up for another defending bout that is likely to be staged in South Africa.

Van Heedern, a World Boxing Organisation (WBO) and International Boxing Organisation (IBO) champion, last year overpowered European welterweight champion Matthew Hatton to defend his IBO title in a one-sided affair that is counted as one of his career highlights.

The 26-year-old South African boasts of 20 wins, one loss and a draw against Manyuchi's 17 wins one draw and a loss.

Van Heedern's last fight was February's non-title bout against Mexican Cosme Rivera in Hollywood, USA where he won.

"I know van Heedern very well and he is an acclaimed fighter," said Manyuchi.

"But I am ready to take him down and I know I will beat him. Right now we are just waiting for a response from him because we have requested for a fight. My dream is to get to [Floyd] Mayweather and for that to happen, I have to pass through people like van Heedern."

Manyuchi's recent exploits of claiming the scalp of Ghanaian Patrick Allotey in a World Boxing Council (WBC) title has seen the pugilist setting his eyes on a career like that of undefeated Mayweather.

Impressively, Manyuchi, fighting with a cracked index finger for six rounds, left the nation spellbound after knocking out Allotey in round eight.

The Ghanaian had arrived in Zambia unbeaten in 30 bouts, having won 24 of them via knockouts. Manyuchi's ambition of fighting against Maywether is however not an easy task as he has to again defend the ABU title by June and the WBC in the next six months.

From there he would graduate into the WBC silver title before qualifying to trade leather with Mayweather.

His next WBC contestant would be picked from the world top-10 as he draws nearer to money-spinning bouts.

"I am not there for the money," said Manyuchi.

"For now it is about putting my country and name on the world map. I can go for anyone in the world. I can feel it."

If Manyuchi succeeds in his Mayweather bid, he would be the third African to face the American whose professional record includes only two Africans in Uganda's Justin Juuko (1999) and South Africa's Phillip Ndou in 2003.

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