Star Zimbabwean boxer Charles Manyuchi put in a classy act as he showed he is still very much in the game when he grabbed both the vacant UBC and GBU middleweight titles after subduing his Argentine opponent, Pablo Ezequiel Acosta, via a fifth round TKO at the Harare International Conference Centre early yesterday morning.
The former WBC silver welterweight champion desperately needed to win this fight after his stakes had fallen following his defeat to Uzbek boxer Qudratillo Abduqaxorov which saw him surrender the WBC silver title in Singapore two years ago.
And he meant business right from the sound of the opening bell as he applied his tactics perfectly well.
Just a minute into the first of the scheduled 12-round bout, Manyuchi’s powerful right hook had apparently sapped the energy out of the Argentine who had no option but to resort to feigning and dramatising injuries in a desperate attempt to have the home pugilist punished.
Acosta successfully managed to draw sympathy from the referee, Kingstone Jokonya, who deducted points from Manyuchi for a below-the-belt blow to the opponent in the second round after Acosta claimed to have been nudged at his groin.
The setback, however, spurred Manyuchi to even come harder on him and it was not surprising Acosta had to beat the count five times after hitting the canvas in as many times inside the first three rounds.
Though he showed some signs of recovering towards the end of the fourth round, Acosta, whose dirty delaying tactics riled the thousands who braved the chilly weather, surrendered in a huff as the fifth round was about to commence.
The win gives the Chivhu-based pugilist a good standing to challenge for the world’s “Big Five”, the WBO, WBC, IBF, IBO and WBA, but for now he shifts his attention to the WBF title fight against a yet to be named Tunisian boxer in August.
Manyuchi expressed disappointment over Acosta’s antics but was still happy to have won the fight.
“It was disappointing to box against someone who behaved like that but I am happy for the achievement,” he said.
“I knew that I outweigh him in terms of mass, so I had to use that to my advantage. I had to throw weighty punches and I did just that.”
Manyuchi is now angling for the WBF title he will fight for in August.
“I am happy to be back to the scene in such a fashion. I need to continue working hard. I am already starting to prepare for the WBF title which I will contest against a Tunisian opponent on August 3.
“I need to put in a lot of work as I am still working towards restoring everything which I lost when I failed to defend that WBC silver welterweight crown about two years ago.
“In boxing, you need to pay attention to detail. I will continue putting in everything and at the end of the day see what comes my way.
“I need to prepare for any opponent now and I hope to maintain the momentum.”
It was not only Manyuchi who won the title at this extravaganza, which was promoted by the Charles Manyuchi Academy and sponsored by Tinmac through their director Tinoda Machakaire as well as Delight Credit, but two boxers from the former WBC champion’s camp also made the country proud.
Kudakwashe Chivandire snatched the vacant WIBA bantamweight title from Zambia’s Joyce Chileshe who retired in the first round while Hassan Milanzi took home the UBC super-bantamweight crown after dismissing Philemon Hara of Zambia via a unanimous decision after 12 rounds of sweltering action.
There were also wins for a host of Zimbabweans who fought in the under card.
Brendon Denese extended his unbeaten professional record to six with a unanimous decision win over Emmanuel Chisiya of Zambia in the lightweight category.
Peter Pambeni, Hilary Kataya and Jeremiah Mhere all posted wins via a unanimous decision in their respective weight categories with Evans Usavihwevhu flooring Zambia’s Raphael Kasoma via a KO.
But Aliya Phiri and Zvikomborero Dadzwa lost to their Zambian opponents while the reigning WIBA super-flyweight champion Alice Mbewe of Zambia dismissed Zimbabwe’s Fortune China in the bantamweight section.