We’re be­hind you, VP Mnan­gagwa tells Manyuchi

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ed­die Chikamhi

VICE-PRES­I­DENT Emmerson Mnan­gagwa yes­ter­day chal­lenged cham­pion boxer Charles Manyuchi to main­tain his usual best form when he faces French­man Damien Martin in de­fence of his World Box­ing Coun­cil sil­ver wel­ter­weight ti­tle in Harare later this month.

Manyuchi, who be­came the sil­ver cham­pion in May this year when he de­feated Rus­sian Dmitry Mikhaylenko in his own back­yard, will be fight­ing at home for the first time in de­fence of an in­ter­na­tional ti­tle.

This fight has been ded­i­cated to Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe.

The 27-year-old pugilist yes­ter­day paid a visit to Vice-Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa’s of­fices ahead of a sched­uled trip, later in the day, to Zam­bia for his fi­nal prepa­ra­tions.

Manyuchi, who was ac­com­pa­nied by his lo­cal train­ing team and the Min­is­ter of Sport and Recre­ation Makhosini Hlong­wane, charmed the Vi­cePres­i­dent when he pre­sented his three in­ter­na­tional ac­co­lades which in­clude the WBC sil­ver wel­ter­weight cham­pi­onship, the WBC In­ter­na­tional belt and the African Box­ing Union ti­tle.

He was also up­beat ahead of his next fight against Martin in ex­actly three weeks’ time at the Harare In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence Cen­tre.

Vice-Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa as­sured Manyuchi of max­i­mum sup­port and promised that the Gov­ern­ment would hon­our its pledge to make the fight a suc­cess.

“We are very much ap­pre­cia­tive of your ex­ploits and we are very proud that you have raised the flag of Zim­babwe very high. And, as you go for train­ing in Zam­bia, we wish you well and when the tour­na­ment comes to Zim­babwe at the end of the month we will be there to sup­port you.

“Since you are ded­i­cat­ing this fight to His Ex­cel­lency the Pres­i­dent, my young brother please win the fight.

“There are cer­tain chal­lenges that we face; that the Sports Com­mis­sion faces, your Min­is­ter (Hlong­wane) has briefed me and we shall dis­cuss those is­sues else­where.

“But we wish you well. We shall con­vey this mes­sage to His Ex­cel­lency that you have gone to Zam­bia to train in or­der to make sure when the fight comes here at the end of the month you will win it.

“In fact, it’s the Pres­i­dent who said he wanted the fight to come to Zim­babwe and not (to be staged in) France. So we feel proud be­cause this is the first time that we are go­ing to host a world cham­pi­onship tour­na­ment in Zim­babwe.

“So have our hearts and our best wishes and I think ev­ery Zim­bab­wean will be pray­ing for you. Travel well, the Min­is­ter will look into some of the chal­lenges you have been men­tion­ing and we will as­sist the Min­is­ter to re­solve those chal­lenges,” said Mnan­gagwa.

Manyuchi said the next three weeks would be cru­cial for him.

The boxer an warmed up to the big fight with a win over Tan­za­nian Sa­muel Deogra­tias re­cently in Zam­bia.

“I am ready to de­fend it be­cause the Pres­i­dent promised me that the Gov­ern­ment of Zim­babwe is go­ing to host the ti­tle de­fence. So I am happy for this send-off. I need to go and pre­pare for this tough and cru­cial fight and the only thing that I can prom­ise you Vi­cePres­i­dent is that I am a win­ner,” said Manyuchi.

Hlong­wane said the Gov­ern­ment and the cor­po­rate world are join­ing hands to sup­port t h e in­ter­na­tional bout. Prepa­ra­tions are at an ad­vanced stage and Manyuchi’s pro­mot­ers from Ori­en­tal Quar­ries Box­ing Pro­mo­tion of Zam­bia were in the coun­try last week to boost the progress. Hlong­wane told the Vice-Pres­i­dent that the match is likely to at­tract a ca­pac­ity crowd at the HICC. “Hav­ing won the WBC sil­ver wel­ter­weight cham­pi­onship (in Rus­sia), we sat down and agreed with Manyuchi and his pro­mot­ers and we agreed that his de­fence of the ti­tle, he should not just have it in Zim­babwe but he should have it in hon­our of His Ex­cel­lency, the Pres­i­dent. “So he is go­ing to be hav­ing on the 30th of this month the de­fence of his ti­tle and I have come with him as he leaves to­day (yes­ter­day) for Zam­bia to go and re­sume camp in prepa­ra­tion for that all-im­por­tant fight so that he should be suc­cess­ful in de­fend­ing his ti­tle be­fore what we think is go­ing to be a ca­pac­ity crowd. “There are cru­cial is­sues around, ob­vi­ously the mo­bi­liza­tion of cor­po­rate sec­tor re­sources as well as Gov­ern­ment re­sources will go a long way in terms of as­sur­ing the suc­cess of the tour­na­ment,” said Hlong­wane.

Charles Manyuchi

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