FORMER Commonwealth boxing champion Arifonso Zvenyika has received his first international assignment as trainer and promoter when his boxer Anyway Katunga fights in the undercard of Charles Manyuchi’s World Boxing Council title defence at the Government Complex in Lusaka, Zambia.
By Michael Kariati
Zvenyika and his boxer have been invited by Zambia’s Oriental Boxing Promotions who have fallen in love with Zimbabwean boxers in the wake of the success of Manyuchi who fights under their stable.
The secretary general of the Zimbabwe National Boxing and Wrestling Control board Gilbert Munetsi said they have received Katunga’s letter of invitation from Zambia, adding that they had cleared the boxer for the Zambian excursion.
“This will be Zvenyika’s first assignment as a trainer and promoter after registering with us last month,” said Munetsi.
Zvenyika is one of the four promoters who have been issued with a licence by the boxing board.
Katunga is the top-rated female boxer in the flyweight category which only has two boxers on the rankings including Shehu Mutasa.
Coincidentally, Zvenyika also won two Commonwealth titles while fighting in the flyweight division.
The former Commonwealth and Africa Zone Six champion whose Mosquito Boxing Promotions is based at Stoddart Hall in Mbare, says his dream is to produce a world champion.
Manyuchi is billed to fight Colombia’s Davis Casserres Navarra on November 22 for his first defence of the WBC International welterweight title which he won after knocking out Ghana’s Sam Allotey in the eighth round.
Manyuchi is also the Africa Boxing Union championship holder after winning the title against Burkina Faso’s Patrick Sou Toke before defending it against Isaac Sowah, also from Ghana.
The Masvingo-born boxer who is based in Zambia has risen to 23rd position in the world rankings having been placed 92nd on the globe at the start of the year.
Manyuchi has not made it a secret that his dream is to fight world champion Floyd Mayweather from USA, but he is still a distance from reaching that destination.
Mayweather is widely regarded as the best pound for pound boxer in the history of the sport, surparsing the likes of Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns.
The Zambian experience is a test case for Zvenyika as to whether he will be a good leader for future boxers as his own history chronicles more controversial incidents than finer achievements.
Zvenyika was accused of conning an Australian community after lying to them that his son had passed away back home in Zimbabwe. The community donated money and other gifts for him to take back home only to realise later that the son was alive and well.
He received a community sentence for driving over a policeman while driving without a licence and was jailed for six months for stealing a neighbour’s radio.
But the former Commonwealth champion says all that is now history, saying people should judge him on his performance in the ring, adding that he wants to be successful as a trainer and promoter in the same way he floored opponents.
Zvenyika and Langton “Schoolboy” Tinago are the only Zimbabwean boxers to have reached the highest stage of being crowned Commonwealth champions. Although Charles Manyuchi is a World Boxing Council International title holder, that belt is ceremonial and far below that of the Commonwealth stage.