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Gym extends to include Russian boxers

By | Feb 14th 2011 | 2 min read
By | February 14th 2011

By Erick Ochieng’

Barely after offering a selected number of local boxers free training and diet last month, Figure 8 Gym is currently hosting two Russian boxers.

Vasily Rakou and Sergey Lemoh, middleweight boxers, have signed up a one-year contract with the gym, according to the gym’s proprietor Sabina Musa.

The prolific boxers and contests organisers, who came to the country three months ago, said they learnt of Figure 8 Gym following a story highlighted by FeverPitch when the gym offered Commonwealth Games light-flyweight gold medalist, Suleiman ‘Whitaker’ Bilali, and other local pugilists free training facilities and diet.

From left Russian boxer Sergey Lemoh, Kenyan George Nabwira Murembe and Vasily Rakou train at Nairobi’s Figure 8 Gym on Saturday. Photo: Stafford Ondego

Rakou is engaged in organising amateur contests in Russia, while Lemoh is yet to engage at international level.

The two organise international bouts popularly known as Ice Fights in Russia, an event that involves Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands and Kazakhstan.

Practical skills

While in Russia, they train at a Health Gym, which has helped shape up most of Russian world beating boxers.

To them, a major difference in Kenyan and Russian boxing is that Kenyans base their training on exercises and other practical skills, while the Russians stick to spurring.

"Spurring makes 80 per cent of Russian boxing," says Lemoh.

At Figure 8 Gym, the two train under coach Alvedo Okumu, a 1984 Olympian and a former member of the Kenya ‘Hit Squad’ that represented the country in Los Angeles, USA.

Okumu, a former four-time national middleweight titleholder, says the Russians are proficient boxers and he hopes to engage them into local contest.

"The boxers are currently undergoing intensive training that include ring techniques and spurring," says Okumu.

Other sessions include, among others, warm-up, rope skips, bag and pad punching, physicals and warm-downs.

"I love the Russians’ level of understanding and discipline. All Kenyan boxers should use them as yardsticks to measure their own progress and success," added Okumu.

Prolific boxers

Rakou says his greatest moments in boxing came last year when he won the Tyumen Media Competition in the middleweight.

"I didn’t believe I would win because the contest involved other prolific boxers in Russia," says Rakou who is also a radio DJ back at home.

Rakou started boxing two years ago, while Lemoh is a seasoned pugilist in their hometown of Tyumen.

Apart from intensive training, they also want to have as much fun as possible while in Kenya where they hope to set up a mobile phone business.

They admitted they are having great time in Kenya.

Their other passion is football, of which they say, frequent training, just like in boxing, is needed for success.

Musa, who agreed with their view, said their act of punctuality in the gym has spread to other the trainees at the gym and this has taken their training to the next level.

Apart from boxing, the gymnasium also offers kick-boxing lessons.

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