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World champion dethroned at Battle of the Champions

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The World Boxing Council (WBC) World Silver Welterweight champion Charles Manyuchi suffered an ignominious defeat when he was knocked out in the first round of a prestigious event at the Singapore Sports Hub - OCBC Arena.

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Defending champion Charles Manychi (on ground) was twice knocked out by his challenger, Uzbekistan’s rising star Qudratillo ‘The Punisher’ Abduqaxorov. Photo: Lim Sau Boon/ Team Nila

The highly-touted Zimbabwean champion, who had before the fight, predicted that he would easily beat the challenger - Uzbekistan’s rising star Qudratillo ‘The Punisher’ Abduqaxorov – found himself dumped on the canvas after being sent into the ropes by a barrage of punches. He failed to make the count.

The spectators could hardly believe their eyes as the Manyuchi - Abduqaxorov encounter, billed as an “Asia vs Africa” showdown with all the intensity and pound‐for-pound excitement that can be expected when two continents collide – came to an abrupt end in 2 min 56 seconds.

In a post-fight media conference, a chastened Manyuchi, 27, who boasts a career of 20 wins, 12 by KO, 2 losses and 1 draw, said he had prepared well for the fight and that he had lost to a worthy champion. 

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Manyuchi (right) said he had prepared well for the fight and that he had lost to a worthy champion. Photo: Xiaolong/ Team Nila

His manager, Christopher Malunga was more forthright. “It was a sucker punch. We are not taking anything away from the new champion. But Manyuchi was a bit careless. He should not have adopted that style of his in the first round.”

Malunga was referring to Manyuchi’s predilection to drop his gloves to tempt his opponent to come forward and try to hit him.

“It was too early in the fight to do that. Maybe he would have started doing that in the second round,” said Malunga.

In the end, Manyuchi paid the price when Abduqaxorov, a 23-year-old with just 10 wins under his belt, caught him on the chin not once but twice. Malunga said it was a learning experience and “we will have to go back to the drawing board” – hopefully to be ready should a rematch become a possibility.