By Gilbert Munetsi
Reigning World Boxing Federation (WBF) middleweight champion Charles Manyuchi has been voted the world boxer of the year for 2021 by the global sanction body.
He becomes the fifth African pugilist to bag the award after William Gare and Danie Venter (SA), Taylor Mabika (Gabon), Patrick Kinigamazi (Rwanda) and Tanzania’s Hassan Mwakinyo.
Introduced in 2009, some of the renowned recipients of the accolade include Evander “The Big Deal” Holyfield (44-10-2), Mexican Marco Antonio Rubio (13-0-0) and Alexander Brand from Colombia.
Holyfield, who has also won the WBA world title a record 17 times, the IBF 11 times and the WBC on nine ocassions was the WBF fighter of the year for 2010.
In a telephone interview, WBF Africa President Howard Goldberg told Nhau from his Cape Town base:
“We’re very proud of Charles and it is a prime example to other Zimbabwean boxers as to what can be achieved through hard work and dedication.
“This award has been won by greats such as Evander Holyfield and Michael Grant, among others. It is also an honour for Zimbabwe boxing in general.”
Manyuchi (25-4-1) first claimed the WBF world title in 2019 after accounting for Argentine Diego Gallardo.
He then successfully defended the title on July 3 last year after winning, on points, against Muhammad Sebyala of Uganda.
The boxer of the year achievement is the second for Manyuchi outside of the boxing ring, having also been accorded the World Alliance Boxing Association (WABA) goodwill ambassadorial role.
The Zimbabwe boxing progidy returns to the ring on February 26 to defend his WABA supreme middleweight crown against Said Mbelwa of Tanzania.
The match takes place in Lusaka, Zambia, and is being promoted by his former handlers, Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions.
He returned to Harare on Tuesday, having decided to take a break from camp in Zambia following the announcement that his match had been pushed forward. Nhau/Indaba