Bakari and Okoth box their way into games’ quarters

Boxer Shaffi Bakari in the team’s training session at Kasarani. [File]
National flyweight champion Shaffi Hassan Bakari won his fight to join six other Kenyan boxers who have qualified for quarterfinals in the ongoing African Games in Rabat, Morocco.

It was not easy for Bakari, who was stretched to the limits before securing a 3-2 victory over the fancied Mortaji Said of Mauritius.

Said gave a good account of himself but the Kenyan policeman was too good and swift in the second and third rounds as he held on to triumph in the bout.

Female welterweight champion Lorna Kusa also cruised into the last eight without throwing a jab in her pre-quarterfinal match.

Earlier, two other Kenyan boxers superheavyweight champion Fredrick Ramogi and female flyweight champion Christine Ongare were also lucky to go through.

Africa lightweight champion Nick Okoth also made it to the last eight in the featherweight (57kg) as he dismissed Gomes Ernesto Segundo of Angola on unanimous points decision at the Amani Indoor Sports Centre, in Rabat, on Saturday.

The experienced soldier won the match without much fuss as he stopped the Angolan boxer.

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The trio joined five other pugilists who earlier had secured quarterfinal slots in different matches and others from byes offered by ABF.

Those safely through are welterweight Boniface Mogunde (69), middleweight George Cosby (75kg), heavyweight Elly Ajowi (91) and superheavyweight Fred Ramogi (over 91kg).

Female boxers safely through to the quarters are welterweight Lorna Kusa and flyweight Christine Ongare.

Meanwhile, national middleweight champion Elizabeth Andiego bowed out of the championships after she lost on unanimous points to Nigerian Adejumola Toyin Esther in the one-sided match at the same venue.

Of the 12 boxers selected for the Games, four have bowed out of the continental games.

They are being coached by Undugu Club head coach Musa Benjamin, assisted by David Munuhe, while Isaac Mbote is the team manager.

Despite not having trained for long, Boxing Federation of Kenya technical director Albert Matito said their performance have so far been impressive.

Matito said out of the eight boxers, who have qualified for the quarterfinals, he expects about four, if not more, to make it to the medal brackets.

“So far, so good. Our players have actually displayed a very commendable show that seems to be taking us to where we belong in the world boxing map,” said Matito.

“Our aim is to go back to where our boxing standards were.”

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Shaffi Hassan BakariAfrican GamesRabatMorocco