World Boxing Council welterweight silver champion Charles Manyuchi is excited that his dream to defend his title for the first time on home soil has finally become a reality.
Manyuchi is expected to take on Frenchman Damien Martin at the Harare International Conference Centre in Harare on September 30 in Harare.
The voluntary title defence bout is the highlight of several other WBC and African Boxing Union matches lined up on the day.
Addressing journalists at a Press conference yesterday in Harare together with the Minister of Sport and Recreation Makhosini Hlongwane, Manyuchi’s manager, Chris Malunga said they will do all they can to ensure the event is held in Zimbabwe and that it becomes a success.
Malunga indicated last month on Manyuchi’s return from Russia, where he beat Dmitry Mikhaylenko to become the silver title champion, that they would want the boxer’s first title defence, which is voluntary, to be staged in Zimbabwe before he goes for the mandatory one.
The Zambian promoter said they were fulfilling the undertaking they made to President Mugabe last year when they promised him at a function held for Manyuchi at State House that they would bring the fights home.
“I can assure the Zimbabwean people that Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions in conjunction with the Zimbabwean Government are going to make sure that this tournament is a success and that it will take place.
“There is no doubt about it. We are a serious promotion (stable) and we mean business. This is our boxer. He is a proud Zimbabwean boxer who has made Africa proud and we will make sure that, that tournament takes place in Zimbabwe. And that has been our dream. I think I must thank you honourable minister (Makhosini Hlongwane) with the entire staff at the ministry for accepting our proposal.
“This is a very big achievement for a lot of young boys and girls in Zimbabwe and Africa,” said Malunga.
Malunga said they are going to be staging a number of fights on the day, including the WBC silver title for women featuring Lolita Muzeya of Oriental Quarries Boxing Promoters and Agness Muti Maukanena of Malawi.
“I think it will be the first time Zimbabwe is promoting a WBC title fight
It’s also being supported by the African Boxing Union and there will be a title for women, WBC silver. So two WBC titles and one ABU title. I think it’s a great achievement for Zimbabwe and Africa that we are capable of handling any situation in terms of sport,” said Malunga.
Hlongwane said the event is a milestone in Zimbabwe’s boxing, which will also promote sports tourism.
“The significance cannot be underestimated. Our professional boxing in Zimbabwe, we are in the process of re-organising it. One of the ways that we would promote boxing in Zimbabwe, both at amateur and professional level is by making sure that we do stage such tournaments in our country.
“So this is fundamental. And I must say we are going to be working very closely with our sister ministry (Ministry of Tourism) because the whole issue of sports tourism has a meaning when you stage such a tournament.
“And the economy of sport begins to have meaning as well. We are talking of lots of money that is going to be invested in preparations as well as lots of money that is going to be expended in order to begin to be part and parcel of what will be going on, on the particular day. So this is a major milestone for the boxing fraternity in Zimbabwe,” said Hlongwane
Manyuchi said he is happy to have his fight staged at home.
“I feel very happy because it’s my first time to be participating in such a big tournament in Zimbabwe,” said Manyuchi.
Six bouts are on the offing and Zimbabwe’s Anyway Katunga will also be on the roster as he dates Alfred Muwowo of Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions in a non-title flyweight fight.
Barbra Banda clashes with Zimbabwe’s Kudakwashe Chiwandire in a non-title flyweight bout while Gibon Kamota from Oriental Quarries takes on another Zimbabwean boxer Tinashe Mwadziwana in a non-title bantamweight match.
The ABU match is between Oriental Quarries’ Mbiya Nkanku and Mohammed Lassoued from Tunisia in a super welterweight match.
Malunga said they are also trying to bring in Zambia’s top female boxer, Catherine Phiri.
Phiri made history early this year by becoming the first African to win the WBC gold bantamweight title when she beat Yazmin Rivas of Mexico.