By Sports Reporter
TOP Zimbabwe boxer Charles Manyuchi suffered a major scare at the weigh in ahead of his World Boxing Federation (WBF) middleweight bout against Argentine Diago Gallardo which takes place at the Harare International Conference Centre this Saturday evening.
Manyuchi appeared to have blown a golden opportunity to challenge for the world title after weighing over 72.9 kilograms against the middleweight limit of 72.580 kilos during the fight’s weigh in at a local hotel on Friday morning.
While his opponent Gallardo was comfortably within the limit after weighing in at 71.2kg, Manyuchi had to shed some excess weight within the time limit in a bid to save the fight.
The 29 year-old former World Boxing Council (WBC) silver welterweight champion managed to save the high profile bout against Gallardo after beating the two-hour deadline he was given to shed off the extra 300g.
He settled at 72.4kg in an hour against Gallardo’s 71.2 making both of them eligible to fight at middleweight.
After the setback, Manyuchi, who recently won the Universal Boxing Council (UBC) and Global Boxing Union (GBU) intercontinental unification title, will be hoping to make history by becoming the first world champion from Zimbabwe when he faces Gallardo.
Manyuchi has been battling to restore his lost pride since losing his WBC silver belt in against Uzbek Qudratillo Abduxorov in Singapore two years ago.
However, a win against Gallardo will see him write yet another piece of compelling history by becoming the first world champion from Zimbabwe as the WBF title would see him win the WBC silver he lost a couple of years ago.
Manyuchi said he was dedicating the fight to the late former President Robert Mugabe.
“Everyone knows how the late former President Mugabe appreciated my boxing talent. At one time, I was invited to the State House and got a whopping US$50 000, that was a lot of money,” he said ahead of the fight.
“So, as I prepare to take on Gallardo, I am motivated by the need to do it (win) in remembrance of the late former President Mugabe. I was down yes, but I am certainly not out. Manyuchi is rising again and I am doing this for the pride of my beloved nation.”
Saturday’s fight will be Manyuchi’s 29th professional bout since making his debut with a victory over Isaac Phonkeni at Raylton Sports Club on February 14, 2009.
Manyuchi now has a 23-4-1 record after defeating Ezequiel Acosta of Argentina in a Global Boxing Union title fight held at the HICC on May 25.
The 39-year-old Gallardo, who is ranked 89th on the world middleweight rankings, also has 29 professional bouts and has won 22 (13 by Kos), lost six and drawn once.
He lost his last fight to countryman Billi Facundo Gody, who is ranked 85th in the world.
Gallardo insisted he would knock out his Zimbabwean opponent within the 6th round distance.
“I have fought out in my country of residence before and have won the same belt so I am cock-sure I will repeat the same feat. For the record, I have beaten a French opponent in his own backyard to win the title on one of the occasions and it’s not an issue that I am fighting in Africa,” he said.
Meanwhile, in the second WBF title fight on the bill, undefeated Brandon Denes, a product of the thriving Charles Manyuchi Sports Academy will clash with Malawian Byson Gwayani for the vacant Intercontinental crown at Light Welterweight.
It will be the first championship fight for both men, and a real chance to make their mark at the big stage.
Denes, a political administration student at Great Zimbabwe University (GZU), brings a an impressive record of six straight win, three of them by way of knockouts, having entered the paid ranks in May of last year.
Gwayani, a 23-year-old Southpaw from Malawi, made his pro debut in March of 2016 and has since managed 12 wins under his belt five of them being Kos and six defeats.
1).Alfred Madzivadondo (Zim) vs lan Kachepa (Zim) 6 rounds
2)Evan’s Husayihwevhu (Zim) vs John Andrew (Zim) 6rounds
3) Alice Mbewe (Zambia) vs Ndao chilimba (Malawi) 6 rounds
4) Tatenda Biningu (Zim) vs Blessing Bhasera (Zim) 12 rounds
5) Kudakwashe Chiwandire (Zim) vs Euria Matoga (Malawi) 8rounds
Tinashe Zihove (Zim) vs Enock Musambudzi (Zim) 6rounds
7).Hassan Milanzi (ZIm) vs Audrey Masamba (Malawi) 8rounds
8).Tinashe Majoni (Zim) vs Anywhere Katunga (Zim) 12 rounds
9).Brandon Denes (Zim) vs Byson Gwayani (Malawi) WBF title 12 rounds
10) Charles Manyuchi (Zim) vs Diago Gallardo (Argentina) WBF world title fight 12 rounds