Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor—
ZIMBABWE’S golden boy Charles Manyuchi turned on a boxing masterclass, in his homecoming show late last night, to knock out his Colombian opponent Jose Agustin Julio Feria in just 2 minutes and 42 seconds in this World Council Boxing sanctioned non-title fight at Harare International
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The 26-year-old Zimbabwean, who is the WBC welterweight silver champion, produced a devastating performance, and stylish performance to knock out the Colombian in the first round after catching him with a devilish uppercut that sent him tumbling to the canvas.Fighting in the last fight of the night, Manyuchi brought the house down with a brilliant combination of hand speed, power and punching accuracy and could, at times, afford to toy around with his opponent as it became clear, from the word go, that there was a huge gulf in class between the two.
Having worked his opponent with combinations to the body and pinning him into a corner, Manyuchi then delivered the knockout punch that sent Feria down and the Colombian could not beat the referee’s count as a contest that some felt would be close turned into a one-sided show for the Zimbabwe ace.
Having built his profile outside the country, Manyuchi wanted to put on a show for his local fans and while his time in the ring might have been short, he did enough to show that he is indeed a super boxer who probably deserves his shot against the best that the world can throw at him.
That could be coming soon.
His manager, Charles Malunga of Oriental Quarries Promotions, said he would be going to Miami, United States to try and fix a bout for the Zimbabwean who also faces a mandatory defence of his title in Europe.
“We are heading for the WBC gold,” Malunga said amid the carnival of celebrations inside the ring. “I’ll be going to Miami soon and we have contractual obligations in Russia and Italy.“We felt at home, Zimbabwe people are the best and I can tell you that the next fight for Manyuchi will be a sold-out (event).”
Malunga also thanked Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, who was the guest of honour on the night, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Ministers who graced the occasion, including Sport and Recreation Minister, Makhosini Hlongwane, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Christopher Mushohwe and the Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Ex-Political Detainees and Restrictees Tshinga Dube.
The promoter said he was charmed by the input that Hlongwane put into the event, describing him as an amazing “hardworking minister.”Manyuchi said he wanted to give his local fans a longer exhibition of his boxing skills and was, to some extent, disappointed he finished the job earlier than had been expected.
“This guy is a disappointment,” Manyuchi said inside the ring“I wanted to show my people that I can fight. I’m the darling of the crowd and I’m proud to be Zimbabwean.”Manyuchi said he derived a lot of inspiration from the presence of the two Vice Presidents ringside and said it was now up to the Government and sponsors to ensure that they put together resources for him to fight again before his home crowd.
Feria said he was caught by a devastating blow.“He is a champion and it was very unfortunate that I lost control and I was caught by a punch that knocked me out,” said the Colombian.“I would like to thank you all for your support. Things didn’t go the way I had expected.”
Hlongwane said the Government’s plan to put together a grand show had worked out.“Our plan has worked, I can tell Zimbabwe people that boxing is on its way up,” said Hlongwane who described Manyuchi as “an amazing athlete.”Harare businessman Wicknell Chivayo was part of the Manyuchi entourage and promised that he had something special, “in US dollars” for Manyuchi after his spectacular performance.