After goading him for weeks on end, Gabriel Ochieng is finally poised to settle his bitter rivalry with Mbaruk Hamesi on March 5, and their UBO Super Bantam title clash.
The 26-year-old, who is the defending champion of bantamweight East and Central Africa and also holds the bantam IBO Africa belts, said he is ready and prepared for the match.
“I know he is a champion in his country and he has arrived in Kenya, a country where boxing is a game. Let him come and learn lessons from us for his future career,” said Ochieng.
The two met today for the first time and promised a bruising battle. The pair's initial meeting is certain to produce fireworks given they are both prepared to seal the win on Saturday at the Charter Hall in Nairobi starting from 3pm.
Ochieng, the three-belt holder contractually obliged to rematch beaten champion Tanzanian next, in the coming bout.
Nevertheless, Ochieng who has entered in 21 matches, winning 15, losing four and drawing two with five being international. He has also proved capable of holding his own in a tear-up; enjoying five memorable international battles.
Mbaruk has taken five bouts winning four in 2019 and 2020 while drawing one last year. Being his first time on the international stage, Mbaruk says he is well prepared for the match.
“I have been taught to compete and fight hard. I respect Gabriel for his courage and discipline in the ring. If he makes any mistake I will take on him,” said Mbaruk.
“I have always thought of going for bigger things and Gabriel will give me a good challenge. I have watched his fights online and this will be the first time I will be meeting him.”
The other match will see George Owano from Kenya take on Richard Ndifuna from Uganda in Super Weighterweight.
The Chairman of Kenya Professional Boxing Commission, Reuben Ndolo urged Kenyans to turn up in large numbers in order to support the upcoming boxers. He noted that the seven bout event, two titled and five untitled, will be stepping stones to the young boxers.
“We need to have more sponsors on board in order to support these young talents. These youths are struggling on their own and after the match, they go home with a title without rewards,” said Ndolo.
He noted that several bouts are lined up in the month of April, May where the WBC female super-bantamweight title holder Fatuma Zarika and Rayton Okwiri, the African Boxing Union middleweight title champion will take part. He further said it is high time that the government take boxing seriously the same way as ball games.
“Boxing needs to be taken seriously the same way football, volleyball, tennis, and swimming are taken all the way from primary to university. Their talents are supported from a young age,” he added.
Other boxers who will curtain raise the day include Jane Kavulani against Nicoline Achieng, Denzel Onyango Vs Dennis Otieno, Salim Mustafa and Kennedy Opiyo, Dan Oluoch Vs Lucien Balombo and James Mugeni vs Joseph Akahonya. The match is organized by Aememax Company.
The CEO, Isaac Warui said the company is working on how to get back the boxing game on track after the Covid -19 pandemic and appealed to well-wishers to stand with boxers in order to familiarize the sport.
“Last year at the heart of Covid, we had to put a few professional boxers in camp for three weeks in order to sustain them and give them hope that the sport will be back on track,” said Warui.