BY HENRY MHARA
WHAT started as a simple WhatsApp banter between boxing superstar Charles “Busy Bee” Manyuchi and former champion Mordecai “Big Fish” Donga could end up being one of the biggest fights on the local scene with the two, regarded as some of the finest boxers to ever emerge from the country, set to clash in a grudge fight later this month.
It all began on a WhatsApp group of local boxers when retired Donga (40), launched a scathing attack on Manyuchi’s fighting style, and claimed that even at his advanced stage, he could easily beat up the former World Boxing Council (WBC) silver welterweight champion.
Donga, a former lightweight and middleweight champion, said he was ready to come out of retirement so that he could “teach Manyuchi one or two things on how to box properly.”
The attack ignited a fierce debate on the platform, with supporters of the two camps throwing verbal jabs at each other.
Manyuchi, 10 years younger than Donga, was initially reluctant to take up the fight, which he claimed would not add any value to his career.
But pressure from his supporters and teasing from the rival camp saw him accepting the challenge.
Boxing promoter Clyde Musonda of Deltaforce Academy immediately sprang into action and in no time the date of the big fight and the proposed list of supporting bouts were announced.
Dubbed the Judgment Night, the super middleweight fight is scheduled for December 21 at the Rajiv Gandhi Hall at the Showgrounds, Harare, and will be the main bout on a night that will see the country’s other top and emerging boxers trading leather.
Donga has been the more vocal of the two and is very active on social media, where he takes every opportunity to sting Manyuchi.
Until this week when he described Donga as a “useless old man”, Manyuchi had been quiet, choosing to concentrate on his preparations for the fight.
So determined to win the fight and silence his opponent, Manyuchi took his preparations to Zambia where he has been camped for almost a month before returning to Harare at the weekend.
Donga has taken Manyuchi’s intense training regime to be a sign of panicking.
He told NewsDay yesterday that: “I’m the only person in the country who has beaten Manyuchi before, and that brings enough confidence for me.”
“On both occasions when I met him (Manyuchi), I had not trained because I was very busy at work then. I’m so confident that I’m going to beat him because I know he is so confused. That is why he had to leave the country for Zambia. That is a very big sign that the man is panicking. His camp is disintegrating, he left his coach in Zimbabwe and went alone to Zambia, so it’s a sign that he is disoriented and disturbed because for the first time in his career he is meeting a good challenger. His training routines are so confused. He doesn’t even know how to train because this man has beaten him before. I have been inactive so he does not know what to prepare for. He can’t even watch any video of me to see my fighting style.”
The two have met before, with Donga getting the better of the then young Manyuchi in the formative years of the Busy Bees’ career.
Manyuchi returned the favour in 2011, handing Donga his last defeat which sent him into retirement.
While Donga retired from the sport after the fight, Manyuchi went on to become a boxing superstar – winning the WBC silver welterweight title, in a career that has given him so much fame and fortune.
“When I retired from boxing, I told Charles that he should go on and win the world title. I didn’t say he should go and become a silver champion. I wanted him to become a world champion, but he failed. He failed the task I gave him, so I’m going to punish him for that,” Donga teased Manyuchi.
“He was supposed to go out there and beat the (Floyd) Mayweathers and the Pacmans (Manny Pacquiao) of this world, but he failed dismally. He also lost to that guy in Singapore. It was embarrassing and that’s when people came to me and said ‘Donga, did this person really beat you?’ I said no, he didn’t beat me. The Manyuchi that I fought back then was young and vibrant. This one is old and worn out. I’m going to teach him a lesson.”
Manyuchi, whose record currently stands at 24 wins, including 15 knockouts against only four losses and a draw, is the current World Boxing Federation middleweight champion.
Donga on the other hand, has 22 fights under his belt, which consists of 13 wins and 9 losses.
Judgment Night proposed bout card
Main bout: Super middleweight (12 rounds)
Charles Manyuchi v Mordecai Donga
Main supporting bout: National welterweight title (12 rounds)
Freeman “Bvongwez” Mabvongwe v Thembani Mhlanga
Super bantamweight title (12 rounds)
Tinashe “Chairman” Madziwana v Hassan “Starboy” Milanzi
Light welterweight (10 rounds)
Brandon “Boika” Dennes v Tawanda Chigwida
Super bantamweight female (8 rounds)
Zvikomborero Danzwa v Patience “Master” Mastara
Lightweight (8 rounds)
Evans “Vanso” Husavihwevhu v Ndodana Ncube
Bantamweight (8 rounds)
Bongani “Spannerboy” Makorova v Tinashe “The little Bee” Majoni
Light welterweight (8 rounds)
Trust Zihove v Philip “MadCobra” Musariri