Manyuchi elated with 57-second victory

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REIGNING Zimbabwean Sportsperson of the Year Charles Manyuchi yesterday described his first round stoppage of Tanzanian boxer Ibrahim Mgendera in Lusaka on Saturday as the fastest win of his professional career thus far.

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

The 26-year-old World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight champion delivered a boxing master class when he knocked Mgendera in 57 seconds during their welterweight non-title fight at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka.

The fight was the main supporting bout to the World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight interim gold title fight between Catherine Phiri and eventual winner Christina McMahon from Ireland.

Manyuchi, who was using the match to prepare for his title defence in July, wasted no time in sending his 24-year-old opponent flying into the ropes with a crushing right cross punch.

Although Manyuchi’s opponent, who is nicknamed King Class Mawe, later claimed that he had been hit below the belt, television replays of the match which was screened live on Zambian national television showed otherwise.

“It was a crushing right cross on the chin,” Manyuchi told NewsDay Sport from his base in Lusaka yesterday.

“It’s the fastest win of my professional career and I’m happy because it shows that my preparations for my next fight in July are on the right track. Great deeds need great preparation and I’m confident I will help bring back the glory to our sport in Zimbabwe.

“I also hope to spread the gospel through boxing because I believe in putting God first before everything else,” said Manyuchi, who is also the African Boxing Union welterweight champion.

Manyuchi, who now has a record of 16 wins (10 knockouts), one draw and two defeats, will defend his title in against Italian Gianluca Freeza on July 18 in Milan.

The 35-year-old Italian has a record of 22 wins that includes seven knockouts, two draws and defeats.

Manyuchi had been initially billed to defend his title against Mexican Silverio Ortiz in Zambia on April 25, but his stable Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions (OQBP) said they had opted for Frezza because the Italian has offered good conditions.

“WBC has already approved the move and the contract has been signed,” OQBP operations director Chris Malunga was quoted in the Zambian media.

“It is important for him (Charles) to start fighting boxers who are experienced and highly rated. Ortiz is also a good boxer, but the response from his promoters has been very bad. We did not have any other choice, but to withdraw him and go for Frezza,” Malunga said.