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Upcoming boxers give veteran Ajowi reasons to worry

Last updated 8 months ago | By Ben Ahenda

Heavyweight boxer Elly Ajowi. [Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com]

As the fourth leg of the National Boxing League begins today at Nanyuki Social Hall, heavy champion Elly Ajowi is a worried man.

It's no doubt that upcoming boxers have been giving the veteran some sleepless nights. Ajowi said the youngsters have showed tremendous improvement against the experienced pugilists.

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He said it's no longer automatic for any national champion in any weight category to win their matches in the league championships as it was before.

“Times have changed as emerging talents from smaller clubs are posing a great danger to established clubs in the league. This is a sign of the great strides that have been made as boxing crawls back to its former glory,” said Ajowi.

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The 38-year-old boxer and a father of two girls is a member of the Kenya Police squad popularly known as Chafua Chafua.

He has represented Kenya in Commonwealth, African Games and the Olympics and says he is out to defend his title but warns it will not be an easy assignment.

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“However, I’m determined to give a good account of myself in defending my title in the fight for top honours as we get set for selection in different national teams for future international championships,” he added.

The next crucial international assignment in their calendar is the 2020 African Olympic qualifiers to be hosted in Dakar, Senegal, in January.

Yesterday, Boxing Federation of Kenya Technical Director Albert Matito reiterated that the league championships will be used by national selectors to identify potential players to be named in a provisional squad for the African Olympics qualifiers.

“Therefore, all clubs must take the league championships seriously in their quest to have some of their players named in The Hit Squad”, Matito told Standard Sports.

A total of 10 clubs and nine counties have confirmed participation in the penultimate leg of the league championships ahead of the final leg in Kisumu next month.

Some of the expected teams in the championships are defending champions Kenya Police, former champions Kenya Defence Forces and Kenya Prisons.

Others are Nairobi County, Kibra, Dallas Muthurwa, Githurai 44, Kentract, Kenyatta National Hospital and Oscar Kassongo Sports Academy (OKSA).

The counties are Nakuru, Kisumu, Siaya, Mombasa, Laikipia, Busia, Vihiga, Meru and Kakamega.

Matito said the weighing-in and medical check-ups will always be done in the morning during the three-day tournament.

The first will be held today morning.

“Teams must be punctual when it comes to weighing-in and no boxer, who is unfit or has medical conditions, will be allowed to feature in the league championships,” Matito said.

By yesterday, most teams had named their squads read for the Nanyuki event, save for a few established clubs and counties.