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Zimbabweans Join World in Mourning Late Boxing Icon Muhammad Ali

Honoree Steve Martin (R) accepts his award from Muhammed and Lonnie Ali at the Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night Awards XIX in Phoenix, Arizona March 23, 2013. The charity event is held in honor of Muhammad Ali's fight to find a cure for Parkinson's dise

World Boxing Council’s silver belt holder, Charles Manyuchi, says he has great respect for the late Muhammad Ali.

Manyuchi told Studio 7 that he grew up hearing about the boxing icon from his father, who was also a boxer.

"His famous saying ‘Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee’ resonates with me as my name in boxing is busy bee … for Manyuchi when translated into English," said Manyuchi.

He said his current belt has a picture of Muhammad Ali and this has inspired him to always perform at his best.

"I will always remember Ali for the fun and professionalism he brought to the sport of boxing and my condolences to his family and the boxing fraternity. We have lost a great icon," said Manyuchi.

Ezwell Ndlovu, chairperson of the Bulawayo Boxing Association, said the world has lost a boxing icon who inspired millions of people in USA, Zimbabwe and other nations.

“I was a boxer and when I participated in the Commonwealth Games I was thinking of Muhammad Ali all the time when I stepped into the ring. I am not the only one as other boxers like Arizona Chiponda, Ambrose Mlilo and others were also inspired by him.

“He was a very charismatic person with a lot of influence among young people.”

According to Ndlovu, who was a member of the once prominent Iminyela Boxing Club in Bulawayo, even young boxers today are being inspired by the late Muhammad Ali.

“We shall remember him as a great champion, man of the people and controversial figure. The world benefited a lot from him.”

Ali's body is back in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky following his death Friday of septic shock at age 74 after a long battle with complications of Parkinson’s disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system.

Reports say following a small private funeral service Thursday, a public memorial service at a local sports arena is planned.

Ali's professional boxing career stretched from 1960 to 1981 and he retired with a record of 56 wins and five losses.

Interview With Charles Manyuchi
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