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SPORTS

Okwiri eyes more continental fights ahead of the world title fight

BOXING By Ben Ahenda | January 21st 2022 | 3 min read
Kenya's Rayton Nduku Okwiri (R) celebrates winning against Russia's Andrei Zamkovoi (L) during the Men's Welter (69kg) boxing match at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Riocentro - Pavilion 6 in Rio de Janeiro on August 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO

Before he attains the age of 40, former Africa Boxing Union middleweight champion Rayton Okwiri is determined to win a world title.

And before he gets the nod to go for a world title from the Africa Boxing Union (ABU), Okwiri must win five continental title or non-title fights to improve his world rankings.  

He is ready to fight in any of the prestigious global professional bodies in World Boxing Council (WBC), World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Federation (WBF) and International Boxing Federation(IBF).

 Okwiri confirmed his promoters are working round the clock to ensure his ambitions are accomplished within a stipulated period of time on his way to become a world champion.

” It is and has been my ambition to win a world title and become the first Kenyan male professional boxer to be a world champion. I’m working towards that goal with my coaches so that it can be achieved within the set timelines,” Okwiri who is set to leave for Unites States of America for training sessions told Standard Sports.

Former World Boxing Council super-bantamweight champion Fatuma Zarika remains the only Kenyan boxer to have won a world title.

The former Amateur Professional Boxing (APB) pugilist has to start from scratch again on his up the ranks following his participation in Africa Olympic Qualifiers before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Japan.

Had Okwiri heeded the advice of the Kenya Professional Boxing Commission (KPBC) to skip the Africa Olympic Qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal in February 2020, ABU would not have snatched away the ABU-middleweight title from him.

However, Okwiri who boasts of seven wins (with six knockouts) and a draw from eight professional fights is confident he’ll make a formidable comeback on his way to the top.

“All that now is water under the bridge but I’m determined to reclaim the continental title again before I focus my energies on a world title,” he explained.

He said chances are high he might have a fight lined up for him next month in Nairobi by his promoters in consultation with ABU.

US based promoter Nelson Lopez based in Florida is the one managing Okwiri’s fights abroad while Habib Halahala does it Dar Es salaam, Tanzania.

Yesterday, Okwiri said he had stepped up his training sessions in readiness for any match that could come up next month.

“What is crucial for me, for now, is to gain my full fitness before I indulge in any serious match,” he said.

His last match was against John Serunjogi of Uganda in a 10-round non-title fight in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania on October 13, 2021, Okwiri won on a knockout in the eighth round.

Since then, three matches that were lined up for him have not come to pass.

They were against compatriots Enock Musambuzi and Charles Maluchi, both of Zimbabwe in Dar Es Salaam on November 26 and December 31, 2021 respectively. 

The other one was against World Boxing Federation Africa super middleweight champion Joshua Allotey of Ghana in Accra on December 26, 2021.

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