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Boxers to African Games get down to business at Kasarani

BOXING By Ben Ahenda | August 5th 2019
Northern Ireland's Carly McNaul (L) and Kenya's Christine Ongare fight during their women's 51kg semi-final boxing match during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Oxenford Studios venue on the Gold Coast on April 13, 2018. [AFP]

Boxing Federation of Kenya (BFK) has named 12 boxers and six sparring partners to the African Games, in Morocco, from August 19-September 3.

The squad is already in residential training at Kasarani Stadium. The team includes eight male and four female boxers, with four male and two female sparring partners respectively.

The named squad has four boxers (two male and two female) who participated in 2015 All African Games in Congo Brazzaville.

They are 2015 African lightweight champion and All African Games lightweight (60kg) bronze medallist Nick Okoth, who also featured in the 2008 Olympics and Olympian heavyweight boxer Elly Ajowi of Kenya Police.

The female boxers include fly Christine Ongare (Police) and middleweight Elizabeth Andiego (Kentract).

Okoth, who will seek to make use of his past experience in this year’s continental games, has now shifted to the featherweight while the other three boxers will compete in their normal weights.

The squad has been predominantly selected from two successful boxing clubs in the country; Kenya Police and Kenya Defence Forces.

Other members of the team are fly Shaffi Bakari (Police), light Ethan Maina (Police), middle George Cosby (Police) and light heavyweight Edwin Okong’o, of KDF.

Their sparring partners are Victor Odhiambo (KDF), Martin Oduor (Police), Mohammed Ali (Mombasa) and Hezron Maganga (KDF).

The other two female pugilists are welter Lorna Kusa (Police) and light welter Everlyn Akinyi (Kisumu), while their sparring partners are fly Veronica Mbithe (KDF) and middleweight Elizabeth Akinyi (Police).

The squad is under the tutelage of experienced Undugu Club and former Tanzania National Boxing head coach Musa Benjamin, who is assisted by David Munuhe, Lawrence Jaoko and Remmy Katibi. Isaac Mbote is the team manager.

BFK Technical Director Albert Matito said they are confident their boxers will qualify for the medal brackets and the Morocco games will act as a training session ahead of next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan.

“We are very serious in our prospect to win medals in the continental games and that’s why we have engaged them in rigorous training sessions before we depart for the North African country in the next 10 days,” Matito told Standard Sports.

The team flies out to Morocco on August 15.

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