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MANYUCHI HAS ASIA BUZZING

ZIMBABWEAN international boxing champion Charles Manyuchi’s upcoming WBC Silver welterweight title defence against Qudratillo Abduqaxorov has been dubbed “Asia versus Africa”. By Langton Nyakwenda

Manyuchi (26) will square off against 23-year-old Abduqaxorov of Uzbekistan on March 25 at the OCBC Arena, Singapore’s sports hub and one of the top sporting venues in Southeast Asia.

Abduqaxorov is the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver welterweight champion, and the bout’s promoter, Alex Shah, last week told The Sunday Mail Sport that the fight has the “whole of Asia buzzing.”

“We are honoured to have Manyuchi in Singapore; the Lion City will finally have a taste of a WBC champion. The fight between Manyuchi and Qudratillo is a must watch. It is going to be Asia versus Africa, a clash of two continents, or Asia’s Rising Star against the Best of the Best from Africa,” he gushed.

“This will be the biggest and most prestigious WBC fight in Singapore. The last WBC fight was an International title fight and was held here 28 years ago,” added Shah of Cartel Promotions.

Shah also gave an update on the possibility of having boxing legend Manny Pacquiao at ringside, saying talks between his stable and the Filipino star were progressing well. “We have spent the past three months working on logistics, set up and security amongst other matters. Now we are pleased to say that we are ready for this much anticipated, high profile event,” he said.

The US$500 000 fight will leave Manyuchi financially oiled but Shah would not say what the boxers’ purse would be. “We cannot divulge the purses due to the nature of the contracts we had with the boxers.” Manyuchi has stepped up preparations for his first WBC silver welterweight title defence and maiden fight in Asia at a training camp in Zambia.

He is confident of victory and has shed off over four kilos in a week.

“I am working on my weight and there is good progress. When I went into camp I was at about 79kg but now I am below 75. All will be well,” Manyuchi told this newspaper from his training base in Lusaka last week. The Zimbabwean should the edge over Abduqaxorov, who goes into the fight with a record of 9-0-0 compared to Manyuchi’s 20-2-1.

However, Abduqaxorov fired warning shots on Friday night when he knocked out Tanzanian champion Idd Pialari in the second round of a non title fight at the Far East Square in Singapore.

Pialari carried a 17-2-1 record intothe bout. But Manyuchi should be a different test altogether as the Zimbabwean is number 22 on the world welterweight rankings while Abduqaxorov is a distant 108th out of the 2 225 rated boxers. On the WBC rankings, Manyuchi opened February on third position behind Amir Khan of Britain and Timothy Bradley of the United States.

Danny Garcia of America is the holder of the WBC gold welterweight belt previously held by retired legend Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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