Manyuchi played much football before his WBF triumph

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Sports Reporter 

NEW World Boxing Federation middleweight champion Charles Manyuchi spent the better part of last month playing football than in the boxing ring.

Manyuchi made history by becoming the first pugilist from this country to win a world title after he overcame Argentine Diago Gallardo via a third round technical knock-out at the Harare International Conference Centre on Sunday morning.

But, the former World Boxing Council silver welter-weight holder had gone for close to a month more in the football pitch than sparring inside the ring.

His coach, Ali Phiri, revealed that Manyuchi had to spent a significant period of time in soccer sessions to achieve balance and perfect leg movements.

He was flawless in these aspects as he subdued his opponent who looked extremely vulnerable especially in terms of his body balance on Sunday.

"We camped for some time whereupon Manyuchi along with other boxers from the Charles Manyuchi Academy spend more of the time playing soccer.

"Football is not just a game. It is both physical and mental. It helps boxers attain agility, strength, speed of execution due to pressure and above all focus," said Phiri.

"Good boxers do not just throw punches, they combine several motor skills to get a desired outcome. This is why we had to incorporate football into our training regime. It helped us a lot as Manyuchi was spot on.

"He had the endurance, he showed the ambition and retained maximum concentration to end the bout in the earliest possible time. When we were partaking in football lessons, the cardinal rule for either team (of boxers) was to score early goals. By so doing, it becomes mental and develops into a habit.

"This is why you saw Manyuchi and even other boxers from the Charles Manyuchi Academy looking very much determined to end their bouts early." 

Meanwhile, regional boxing legend, Antony Mwamba of Zambia, has hailed Zimbabwean boxers saying the country has potential to produce more world champions if they follow the right fundamentals. 

He was especially impressed by local boxers, most of whom won their duels in the undercard bouts on Sunday. 

"I should start by congratulating Charles for this great win. He is surely back at his best and can actually do even better going forward. 

"There is also something which I have just noted in Zimbabwean boxing. They are doing something somewhere very right. I was charmed by the boxers whom we watched in the ring today. Their technique and strength proved that they are doing things the right way. 

"I am sure, more world champions from Zimbabwe will be emerging very soon," he said. 

Mwamba, an olympiad and great boxer in his heyday, is the owner of acclaimed Zambian stable, Exodus Boxing. 

The stable, from which the current Women International Boxing Association bantam weight champion Alice "Classic Doll" Mbewe belongs, has since partnered with the Charles Manyuchi Academy. 

Besides Mbewe, the academy has also produced several star boxers, including the iconic Esther Phiri who is now a trainer at the stable. 

 

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