More boxers hope to punch their way into National League ring

Anthony Kariuki (left) of Nakuru in action against Travis Onyango of Nairobi in a past bout. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

As the National Intermediate Championships begin tomorrow at Thika Social Hall, more boxers will be eyeing to punch a ticket to the National Boxing League.

Out of 168 boxers, who featured in the National Novice Championships last month, only finalists will be in contention for promotion to the league championships.

“That was one of the highest number of boxers in a junior tournament and it is a record in the history boxing books in the country. This indicates some growth in the sport starting at the grassroots,” said Boxing Federation of Kenya Communications Director, Duncan Kuria.

The three-day tournament, which starts tomorrow, will end on Saturday. Nairobi leads with the highest number of boxers who qualified for the event.

BFK Technical Director Albert Matito said those taking part in the event must have gone through the regional and National Novice Championships and fought in the finals.

“Participation in the tournament guarantees finalists a chance to feature in the league championships. And this puts them at par with other experienced players in the league championships as they chase top honours,” said Matito.

Kisumu are taking eight boxers to the Thika championships, according to Matito, who is also the federation’s Kisumu County Secretary.

Nakuru has eight boxers who qualified for the championships, but will not take part due to financial constraints.

“We cannot make it to Thika due to financial difficulties. This is sad given that this county is famed for producing some of Kenya’s top boxers,” said Nakuru ABC head coach Carlos Muthee Mwangi. 

The federation’s Nakuru County chairman Isaac Mbote confirmed their predicament, but said he’s working to arrest the problem.

“We missed the National Novices Championships due to similar reasons and this why we cannot head to Thika but that does not mean we are not working out to solve the problem. We’ll be in in future tournaments,” Mbote told Standard Sports.

However, he said he’s talking to a number of well-wishers to see if they could salvage the sinking ship.