ZIMBABWE is winning the battle against Covid-19 and focusing on rebuilding the country’s economy, President Mnangagwa said.
After receiving boxing gloves and an autographed belt from the World Boxing Federation (WBF) middleweight champion Charles Manyuchi at State House yesterday, the President said Zimbabwe is always ready for the challenge.
“Always ready for the fight. We’re winning the battle against Covid-19. We’re rebuilding our economy. Zimbabwe is rising again. Thank you to the champ, Charles Manyuchi, for his generous gift and support,”
said the President on his Twitter handle.
The country, said President Mnangagwa, was proud that one of its athletes was a world boxing champion and was also playing a leading role in the battle against Covid-19.
Manyuchi defended his World Boxing Federation middleweight title when he beat Ugandan challenger, Mahommed Sebyala, by a unanimous points decision, in Masvingo last weekend.
The 31-year-old pugilist also scooped the recently inaugurated World Alliance Boxing Association (WABA) World Supreme and the World Professional Boxing Federation titles.
He presented the titles to the President at State House yesterday.
The President congratulated Manyuchi for his success and handed him a US$10 000 token of appreciation.
The boxer is also set to get a 100ha farm in Masvingo, pledged by the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Masvingo Province, Ezra Chadzamira.
“I am happy that we have the WBF middleweight champion in Zimbabwe,”
said President Mnangagwa.
“We feel very proud that this title is in Zimbabwe. I congratulate you and, as a result of that, I have donated something for you.
“It’s a small token of US$10 000.”
Manyuchi presented the President with an autographed belt, and a pair of gloves, which shows the Head of State and Government knocking out the Covid-19 pandemic, in Zimbabwe.
He was accompanied by Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister, Kirsty Coventry, and her deputy Tino Machakaire.
The entourage included acting director in the Sport and Recreation Ministry, Ignatius Vambe, Lawrence Zimbudzana of the Zimbabwe National Boxing and Wrestling Control Board, Manyuchi’s manager Peter Hlohla and Tafadzwa Chibaya of the Charles Manyuchi Academy.
Minister Coventry said Manyuchi, who has previously won the World Boxing Council and the African Boxing Union welterweight titles, has never disappointed.
She said the pugilist has shown great determination to defend his title, despite the lack of sponsorship, in the sport.
Manyuchi promotes his own fights through the Charles Manyuchi Boxing Academy.
“We are extremely proud of Charles for defending his title. It was not an easy fight, especially during this period of Covid-19.
“It has been very inspiring to see an athlete maintaining fitness and health and to walk away with the world championship and world title belt.
“He is the best boxer in the world in the middleweight category under the WBF,”
said Minister Coventry.
She said Manyuchi’s success stories have been an inspiration to many local athletes.
Coventry said Manyuchi did well to remain competitive, despite several cancellations to his fight in the last year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With a total of 39 people, including technical staff, in attendance at the Flamboyant Hotel in Masvingo, Manyuchi took control of his fight midway through the bout after losing the first two rounds, and won a deserved unanimous decision.
“Charles has always been a very good boxer, a very good athlete. He is an inspiration to other athletes because this fight has been prolonged and put off numerous times over the last year because of Covid-19.
“So, to see that he has maintained that focus, for such a long time, to finally be able to have the fight, and to come out on top, we are extremely proud of him, and all the work that he has been doing.
“Today, was a good opportunity for His Excellency to recognise Charles, and his team, and also reward him with a token of appreciation of US$10 000, which is greatly appreciated.
“I think during this time of Covid-19, when athletes and sport and our arts and creative culture sector, and the entire country of Zimbabwe, is taking many protocols of being safe, around Covid-19, this is a little bit of inspiration to show that we will conquer Covid-19,” said Minister Coventry.
Manyuchi said he was grateful for the recognition he received from the Government and the President.
“Today’s event was marvellous. I really want to thank the Government, in particular His Excellency President Mnangagwa.
“I was very excited to meet him and also about the gift that he gave me. I would like to thank the Minister of Sport, Hon Kirsty Coventry and her deputy Hon Tino Machakaire.
“I am happy with this gesture. It’s good motivation. I hope this will not end with me,” he said.
Manyuchi has two more fights lined up, before the end of the year.
He is expected to fight in Dubai in September and then in Morogoro, Tanzania, two months later.
He also revealed that the Government has helped him secure land to build a state-of-the-art sports centre in Chivhu.
Manyuchi partnered with the Chikomba Rural District Council in 2016, after winning the WBC title, to develop a multi-million-dollar community sports centre in Chivhu.
The council availed a 50-hectare piece of land, worth over $1 million.
However, Manyuchi is still to get the land, five years down the line.
“I want to thank the President for intervening in the land issue that I was given by the Chivhu City Council,’’ Manyuchi said.
“It’s sad you get land but end up losing it without benefiting from it.
“I have also been promised 100ha in Masvingo on Monday. So, I am really excited,” said Manyuchi.