BY SPORTS REPORTER
The countdown to former World Boxing Council (WBC) silver champion Charles Manyuchi’s big night themed Restoration has gathered momentum, with a promotional parade being held along the Harare central business district yesterday.
Manyuchi will fight South American opponent, Pablo Ezequiel Acosta (Argentina) at the Harare International Conference Centre, next week Saturday.
A convoy of cars, many of them luxury models comprising three limousines — one of which had Manyuchi on board dishing out sponsors’ brands brought business in the city centre to a virtual standstill as the former champion met with hordes of his supporters.
Chief executive officer of one of the sponsors involved in the bout, Tinmac Motors — a company that has interests in transport and courier services, Tino Machakaire has poured in ZWL$30 000 towards the successful hosting of the tournament.
“It is an honour to associate with an ambassador of Zimbabwean sport and as Tinmac Motors we appreciate the obligation to fulfil our corporate social responsibility role and make Manyuchi’s May Day dream celebrations a reality.
“We are optimistic that Charles will restore his boxing legacy and pray that God grants him the strength to deliver sweet victory, hopefully through a knockout,” Machakaire said.
NetOne, Dendairy, PhilJen Country Lodges, Delight Credit, Rainbow Tourism Group and Talcourt Construction are the other companies that have either made deposits or pledged to support the tournament.
Athletes Sphere Management (ASM), a global sports company that strives to produce top class athletes and services, has also come on board.
“ASM has signed up our world champion and national icon to help manage his brand, create endorsement opportunities and facilitate the right structures to afford the champ to enjoy his boxing again through his come-back fight,” ASM executive director (operations) Glorianne Francis said.
A budget of $153 000 has been set, which will go towards meeting the costs for the boxers’ purses, board and travel and sanction fees, among other logistical needs.
Manyuchi will for the first time use his licenced boxing stable (Manyuchi Boxing Academy) to promote his own fight and for the first time since conquering Africa and writing a success story on the world stage, he will be fighting for two belts — the unification of the Global Boxing Union (GBU) and Universal Boxing Council (UBC), which are vacant.
Last week the 29-year-old went into camp under the tutelage of Zambian coach Greetings Kaonga.
His opponent Acosta is expected to arrive next week ahead of the fight. A contingent of other boxers fighting the undercard will be from Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi.
Two boxers from the former champion’s boxing project, the Charles Manyuchi Boxing Academy, will be facing Zambian opponents for the vacant UBC super bantamweight and Women’s International Boxing Association female bantamweight titles.
Meanwhile, tickets for the tournament have gone on sale through various NetOne outlets in the city centre, Betta Ball Sports shop at Joina City Mall, Bachelor’s Republic along Jason Moyo Avenue and through the Gateway Stream online application.
Manyuchi is on a redemption mission to revive his boxing career that saw him win 22 (KO13), lose four and drawn one match in a professional career spanning 10 years.
The zenith of his career was when he defied the odds and defeated Russian Dmitry Mikhaylenko (21-0-0) to be crowned the new WBC silver champion. He was to subsequently lose the title in 2017 to Qudratillo Abduxorov, but has since dusted himself up to soldier on with his fighting journey.