Fatima Bulla in Zambia
History was made in the city of Lusaka on Saturday night when Zimbabwean boxer Charles. Manyuchi claimed the World Boxing Council Welterweight International title after knocking out Ghana’s Patrick Allotey in the eighth round.The 12 round bout did not last the distance as Manyuchi rained punches, jabs and hooks on the out of sorts Ghanaian who was saved now and then by his ducking skills.
Manyuchi chose to show his brilliance on the canvas taking advantage of a tournament that was also held in honour of three late great icons, Zambia’s boxer Lottie Mwale, WBC president Jose Sulaiman and South Africa’s Nelson Mandela.
In the process Manyuchi made amends for his fellow Zimbabweans, Monalisa Sibanda, Takudzwa Kuchocha and Chamunorwa Gonorenda who displayed clear signs of rust in the ring as they fought in supporting bouts.
Sibanda (W-4,D-0, L-4 ) lost through a unanimous decision after six rounds to Zambia’s Lolitha Muzeya (W-3, D-0,L-4) having last fought two years ago.
Next to be humiliated was Gonorenda (W-10, D-7, L-0) who retired during the first round complaining of an injured wrist as he traded leather with Donald Kampamba (W-7,D-1L-4), another Zambian.
While hopes where pinned on Kuchocha (W-14, D-0,L-2) it was a third time disappointment for the Zimbabwean as he appeared to lose his footing on the first round leaving his Democratic Republic of Congo opponent Mbiya Nkanku (W-1,D-0,L-1) to knock him out.
However Manyuchi redeemed the pride of his country buoyed by spectators who could have easily made one think the Masvingo-bred pugilistic was Zambian had they visited the 3000-seater Government Complex.
Using the strategy outlined by his coach Mike Zulu, Manyuchi got into the first round firing jabs to shock and disturb Allotey.
Allotey however denied to fall into the trap ducking away from intended punches thrown by the African Boxing Union champion.
Into the second round Manyuchi’s failure to precisely land his uppercuts on the Ghanaian cost him an early dismissal of the Ghanaian.But his dummies in the midst of the fight left his opponent confused.
He even had the tenacity to entertain the boxing enthusiasts with his comic facial expressions while aiming at the Ghanaian who resorted to grabbing his opponent when the pain of the blows began to take their toll. In the fifth round Manyuchi was clearly in the driving seat with all the three judges giving him scores of 40 each as Allotey garnered 36, 35 and 33 points.
The sentiments were that if the Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotion stable-managed fighter had been much serious he could have knocked down Allotey within the six rounds.
However the victory was sweet still in the eighth round when Allotey succumbed to punches thrown from all angles in the process as he tried to lean on Manyuchi who ducked leaving the Ghanaian on the canvas and the referee counting up to eight.With the pride of a world title belt around his waist, Manyuchi said the period of sacrifice had paid off?
“I am feeling very much happy because the managers put everything for me. So I had to sacrifice to win because everything was done. The guy (Allotey )is a good boxer but I managed to win the belt. Because I am a boxer every time I have to be confident. If my coaches, my manager and the promoter are confident then I have to be more confident because I am the one fighting,” said Manyuchi.
His coach, Zulu said they had prepared well for the fight.
“People say a lot of things and they would have loved it if we had gone on to lose .But to me everything being said we worked hard. We underwent four months plus weeks to reach this stage. And this was our dream. We wanted this, we aimed for this that one day we shall Carry the day and become the WBC champions. And we are the double champions.Today is a historic day, we have put Zimbabwe on the world map,” Zulu said.