...dates Mikhaylenko in WBC title clash
Zimbabwe’s star pugilist Charles Manyuchi is in Russia making final preparations for his mega-bout with Dmitry Mikhaylenko as he seeks to follow in the footsteps of British boxer Amir Khan to claim the World Boxing Council (WBC) silver welter-weight title.
By Henry Mhara
The two square-off for the belt that was previously held by Khan on Friday next week at the DIVS Arena in Yekaterinburg.
Manyuchi, together with his management that includes manager Chris Malunga, trainer Mike Zulu and his assistant Greetings Kaonga, touched down in Moscow on Wednesday morning before connecting to Yekaterinburg, later in the day.
He will be making a return to the boxing ring following his last victory against Italian Gianluca Frezza last year.
His exploits were honoured by President Robert Mugabe with a US$50 000 token of appreciation.
Speaking from Yekaterinburg yesterday, the 26-year-old said he is feeling confident of a win and he will not be frozen out.
“It’s very cold here, but I don’t think that will affect me that much,” said Manyuchi. “I have been training hard for this and I’m ready, just waiting for the day. Will do my best to make Zimbabwe and my family proud.”
In the past few months, he has been refining his skills in Zambia where his promoters and management are based ahead of what could turn out to be a major breakthrough in his boxing career, if he beats the Russian.
“The time has come for another world history. Russia here I come. I am ready for it (the fight). May the good boxer win the title, amen,” Manyuchi posted on his Facebook page before he left Zambia for Russia.
He faces a tough challenge against a boxer with an unblemished record boasting of 21 wins, including nine knock-outs.
Some of his latest victims include former interim super lightweight titleholder Johan Perez.
For Mikhaylenko (29), the fight with Manyuchi, whose record of 17 wins, two losses and a draw, is a direct path towards a bout with WBC welterweight champion Danny Garcia. Manyuchi is currently ranked ninth in the WBC welterweight rankings while his opponent is 10th.
Next week’s fight would be the first since Manyuchi was re-admitted back into Zambia-based Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions stable after their major fallout last year which appeared to threaten the boxer’s career.
The event will also be a homecoming show for Mikhaylenko who has had his last five fights in North America.