Harare – Zimbabwean boxer Charles Manyuchi is riding on the crest of the wave after defending the World Boxing Federation world middleweight title last week.
He also added two other newly-inaugurated belts to his collection when dispatched Uganda’s Mahommed Sebyala via a unanimous points decision in the bout in Masvingo, Zimbabwe.
As was the case five years ago when he took home the WBC silver welterweight title, Manyuchi – the only Zimbabwean boxer to win a world title – was given the royal treatment after being afforded an opportunity to meet President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who feted him and celebrated his success.
But, how did Manyuchi get into boxing and become a world beater? The Southern Times Sport had a chat with him this week on the journey he has travelled.
Q: Congratulations on the victory. How did you achieve it?
A: Well, it’s by God’s grace. I struggled a lot to break my opponent’s resistance. I had gone for over 20 months without fighting but I am happy I managed to retain the belt.
Q: You have grown to become one of the top boxers in Southern Africa, how did it all start?
A: It’s a long story. But, I give it all to my father, Peter, who was a soldier. I was not gifted academically and I told my father that I would try my hand in sport. He suggested I take up boxing. It was a scary idea but I respected his choice.
Q: But you grew up in a rural setting where training facilities and sparring partners are hard to come by…
A: It was indeed difficult. I had to exclusively rely on my father the few times he was home. He is the one who honed my fighting skills. I owe everything to him. By the time I started getting some sparring sessions, I was already a mature boxer. My father discovered me.
Q: Then the world heard of you when you were fighting in Zambia around 2013 and for some time you were believed to be Zambian…
A: When I turned professional, my family was struggling to get me enough financial support so a businessman by the name of Edgar Zvobgo took me under his wings for about four years, of course with the blessings of my father. I got my first fight in Zambia and it was after that fight that Chris Malunga of Oriental Quarries signed me. That is how I moved to Zambia.
Q: And how did you cut ties with Oriental Quarries?
A: This is the stable that fine-tuned me. They made me who I am. I won a lot including the WBC silver. So after that, we decided to mutually go separate ways as I was also becoming keen to fight in Zimbabwe. They allowed me and Malunga actually helped me form my own stable, the Charles Manyuchi Boxing Academy. We still work hand in hand with Oriental Quarries.
Q: Where do you see yourself going forward?A: I will fight for a few more years then concentrate on grooming young talent at my academy. We have been given some land to construct the academy and we wish to produce more stars in the region.