This Saturday, Singapore becomes an international boxing hub for a day as an important fight in the welterweight division takes place between Zimbabwe’s Charles Manyuchi (20-2-1, 12 KOs) and Uzbekistan’s Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (10-0, 6 KOs).
Abduqaxorov, the house fighter, has been based out of Malaysia and has fought in Singapore three times so far in his ten fight pro career that is being guided by his manager Vikram Swapragasam. He is on the fast track in the welterweight division, going ten rounds in his sixth fight and going the full championship distance in his eighth fight. Now, sporting a perfect 10-0 record, he takes on his toughest test to date, the WBC #3 rated Manyuchi.
Coming out of a place not known for boxing like Zimbabwe, Manyuchi has had to hit the road to establish himself, first winning the WBC international welterweight title against Gianluca Frezza in Italy in May of 2015. A year later he went to Russia and upset Main Events’ Dmitry Mikhaylenko and took his undefeated record in the process in one of the better fights of 2016.
With Manyuchi’s WBC Silver title on the line, a win for either fighter here would move the winner significantly closer to a potential world title shot, with a high spot in the WBC rankings.
Manyuchi arrived in Singapore last week, ten days before the fight and took part in the local media rounds. Appearing very confident, he had some words at a press conference for the home fighter and his team:
“I don’t allow a boxer who has less than ten fights to be a champion of the world. Never, never, never…I am going back home with my belt as champion.”
As for Abduqaxorov, aside from being based in Malaysia he also occasionally trains back at home in Uzbekistan and did spend some time in the Philippines for this training camp. His trainer and Uzbek compatriot Ilgar Aliev monitors his and stablemate Azizbek Abdugofurov’s training and originally brought the two over to get started as professionals with their manager, Swapragasam
Speaking about the task at hand for his fighters, the manager told Boxing News TV, “Charles Manyuchi sounds very confident, and they have been here for 10 days before the fight.
“I personally feel that Manyuchi’s camp did not take this fight very seriously and they will pay dearly for that.”
However, the manager still acknowledged the tough test ahead for Abduqaxorov, while remaining confident in his fighter.
“Manyuchi is a very difficult opponent. He is unorthodox and can hit from any angle with lightning speed reflexes.
“The team has devised a plan for Qudratillo, and if he follows through, we should be victorious.”
Swapragasam’s other fighter on the card, the aforementioned Abdugofurov (5-0, 4 KOs), is also facing the toughest test of his pro career to date. Opposite him in the ring will be Martin Rios, who despite his 24 years of age has 35 pro fights and comes off the best win of his career against Ezequiel Maderna. The Argentine has also been competing frequently, notably giving Jamie Cox quite a hard fight in October and dropping Sebastian Heiland in a losing effort in April last year.
Abdugofurov is also being fast tracked, having gone the full 12 round distance in his last fight against Sirimongkol Singwancha, who has 94 fights to his name. The Uzbek middleweight puncher had over 250 amateur fights and is 25 years old.
Despite the gulf in experience, his manager is confident in the fighter and his amateur pedigree.
“This will be the biggest test by far for Azizbek. Having said that, he’s a much better boxer than Rios and has tremendous power so the fight would not go the distance.
“Rios is a quality opponent that has floored Sebastian Heiland in a unanimous points defeat.”
Wins for both Uzbek fighters would exponentially increase their stocks moving forward. Boxing is just starting to get built up in the Asia Pacific region around Singapore and Malaysia, with Abduqaxorov and Abdugofurov as the main pillars for establishing professional boxing.