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WORLD Boxing Council welterweight champion Charles Manyuchi returned home yesterday amid drama at the airport after his trophy and passport were confiscated by Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officials.
Manyuchi’s handlers said Zimra officials wanted the trophy to be declared.
Manyuchi retained his title after beating Italian Gianculla Frezza into submission in the sixth round in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy on Saturday night.
He received $9 000 for his latest exploits.
The 26-year-old touched down at the Harare International Airport at around 5pm yesterday and received a rapturous welcome from his supporters most of them clad in Mr T35 T-shirts – his local sponsor.
A group of more than 100 people crammed the airport arrival lounge and mobbed him while he made his way, and journalists present had a difficult time as they tried to get interviews.
Another group of at least 200 people had set-up camp outside, singing and dancing.
The euphoria was, however, dampened after Zimra officials confiscated the floating trophy that Manyuchi received in Italy. The situation was exacerbated by the absence of any officials from the Sport, Arts and Culture Ministry.
Zimra then released the trophy and the passport after more than an hour when Manyuchi had lost any hope of getting it back.
When asked about the “embarrassing” incident, Manyuchi looking humble as always said: “I have nothing to say, I’m disappointed. I’m very happy with the support I received here, but I’m disappointed about the trophy.”
Meanwhile, his manager Chris Malunga of Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions of Zambia, who accompanied Manyuchi home, was breathing fire.
“I’m very disappointed as the manager of the boxer. Charles defended his title and he was given a trophy which has been confiscated here at the airport. It is very embarrassing and it will affect him. I don’t think it’s proper that someone wins a medal of this magnitude and it gets confiscated by the officials whether it’s Zimra or whatever. It’s a very sad situation we are in,” Malunga said.
He, however, commended the support that Manyuchi got from a group of Zimbabweans based in Europe including Spirit Embassy church founder Uebert Angel who attended the Saturday bout.
“We saw some Zimbabweans in Italy at least six of them supporting us and it was very encouraging on our part. We felt at home when we saw them and we have been receiving a lot of support especially from Uebert Angel, who has been following up on us and that shows that we are all looking at one goal, to see the boxer going very far. I’m very happy with the support we received at the airport and if you are going to motivate a sportsman like that then we are going to get very far.”
Malunga said they are pressing to get Manyuchi to fight British boxer Amir Khan as the Masvingo-born boxer moves closer to achieve his dream of becoming the world welterweight champion, a title currently held by American superstar Floyd Mayweather.
Mayweather has a gold title in the WBC welterweight ranks; Khan has silver while Manyuchi hold bronze.
“It’s a long term plan that we have with him. He knows our plan and what he is supposed to achieve. We have a plan for his future and his immediate plan is to fight Amir Khan. In November, I’m going to China to make sure that I bid for Charles to become a mandatory challenger for the WBC welterweight silver,” Malunga said.by Henry Mhara. source-zimbabwenewsday.