After Independence, after soccer boxing was the most followed sport in the country. Not only was the well followed, but the athletes that competed at the time did not let the nation down and would bring home the silverware. So prosperous was the sport that many would make a living out of it and do nothing else but spar in the ring.
So who are those who ruled the roost? Who stood high and tall after the last bell in the twelfth round?
Mostly competing in via the Commonwealth (while we were still a part of them), these boxers not only made a name for themselves but for the nation as well:
4. Alfonso ‘Mosquito’ Zvenyika
Image Via: Kwayedza.co.zw
Fresher to our memories, Mosquito broke onto the scene in 1993, as an 18 year old coming from the high-density suburb of Mbare. Though he’d lose his first fight, Zvenyika went on to 17 fights (10 through knockout) out of a total of 32 bouts. Of those wins, he won and retained the Commonwealth (British Empire) flyweight title in 1998, both times by technical knockout.
Theft of a neighbours radio saw him serving 20 months in prison, where he suffered a stroke and this saw him being forced to call it a day on his boxing career in 2006.
3. Proud ‘Kilimanjaro’ Chinembriri
Image Via: SundayMail.co.zw
Another boxer hailing from the dusty streets of Mbare, “Kilimanjaro” or ‘The Man Mountain’ had a bit of a hiccup at the start of his career as three times his opponents withdrew prior to the fight after they saw his huge 1.95m. His first 21 fights were straight wins for him, 16 of them being knockouts eventually winning 32 fights, 28 by KO!
His boxing abilities were clear when after just 6 months of starting to box, he knocked out Walter ‘Ringo’ Starr to win the Zimbabwe heavyweight title in just 23 secs. He won the African Boxing Union heavyweight title within his first year, going 5 years with the title defeating numerous challengers. The Commonwealth heavyweight title eluded him during his 9 year career and he’d sadly pass on in 1994.
2. Langton ‘Schoolboy’ Tinago
Image Via: Herald.co.zw
‘Schoolboy’ is one of the few Zimbabweans that made it to the Guinness Book of Records, after he became the only three-time Commonwealth boxing champion — winning two lightweight crowns and a super-featherweight. However, it was his fights pre-Independence that he felt counted the most and would have helped him get world recognition but because Rhodesia was under sanctions because of UDI this was not to be.
Tinago fought 107 bouts, 83 of them being wins and 16 knockouts, and would not go unnoticed by the Zimbabwean boxing community being voted the ‘boxer of the century’.
1. Charles Manyuchi
Image Via: Herald.co.zw
Though still at the peak of his career, Manyuchi has fought 20 fights and lost just twice, those bouts being decided on points. He is the current African Boxing Union welterweight champion and WBC International welterweight champion, not having tasted defeat in his last 15 fights!
Based in Zambia, Manyuchi fights under the Zimbabwean flag and most probably will be fighting at next year’s summer Olympics representing the country.
Image Via: Metro.co.uk
‘Del Boy’ (as he is known in the UK) originates from Mbare and has been boxing since 2007, his first 14 bouts being wins. Chisora has held the WBO International heavyweight title and WBA International heavyweight title simultaneously, and is currently ranked as the 3rd best in the UK, but because he fights under the British flag, we’ve chosen not to include him under Zimbabwean boxers.