BY HENRY MHARA
Zimbabwe’s boxing superstar, Charles Manyuchi returns to the ring in May for an international fight, as he begins to wind down on his glorious career that gave him fame and fortune.
The former World Boxing Council (WBC) silver welterweight champion will face off with Argentinian Alejandro Zampedri at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) on Africa Day, May 25.
They will be contesting for an International Boxing Federation inter-continental lightweight title.
The fight is the first of the last four fights that the 29-year-old will contest as his glittering career draws to a close.
Manyuchi, who says he has achieved everything that he wanted in the sport, will hang his gloves to concentrate on his flourishing boxing academy as well as building his business empire.
He will be looking to bow out in style and improve his impressive record of 21 wins from 25 fights, of which 12 were knockouts.
But he will have to be at his best because he will be facing someone with an equally good record.
The 35-year-old Zampedri has a record of 9-5-0 (KO 7), and to prepare for Manyuchi’s fight, he will fight Lexson Mathieu in United States tomorrow.
Since making his professional debut in 2009, Manyuchi has lost just three fights and drew once.
It didn’t take him long to make his mark, winning the WBC international welterweight title after beating current African welterweight champion Patrick Allotey in 2014.
He would go on to defend the title against Devis Careces that same year, which he capped by winning the Zimbabwe Sportsperson of the Year award.
He made another successful defence of the WBC international belt against Gianluca Frezza, in the fighter’s native Italy.
But the crowning moment came in Ekaterinburg, Russia, two years later when he beat local hero Dmitry Mikhaylenko, by a unanimous decision to lift the WBC silver welterweight title.
His run of 17 consecutive victories came to an end in 2017 when he was knocked out by Quadratillo Abduqaxorov to lose the title.
In-between, he had other memorable fights, including a brutal first round knockout of Jose Feria at the HICC in 2016, in his first major fight at home.
Manyuchi was heavily criticised for his casual approach in the fight against Quadratillo, where he was caught hard by a jab in the initial round from which he never recovered.
After the defeat, he lay low for some months before coming out in public.
His last major fight was a non-title bout against Russian Magomed Kurbanov in Ekaterinburg in August last year, which he lost on points.