Boxer Ajowi, 39, tired of punching above his weight

Kenya's Elly Ochola (right) against Scotland's Scott Forrest during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. [File]

Olympian and Africa Zone Three super heavyweight boxing champion Elly Ajowi knows when to walk away.

Ajowi, who has boxed for league champions Kenya Police for over a decade, said it was time to pave way for the young blood to take over the mantle from where he has left.

“Having represented my club and the national team in numerous international assignments, I feel it’s the right time to allow the upcoming boxers to take this space and possibly improve on what we did not achieve,” Ajowi, who was part of the Kenyan team that featured in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, told Standard Sports.

Ajowi has represented Kenya in Africa Zone Three Boxing Championships, Africa Boxing Championships, All Africa Games, Africa Olympic Qualifiers, World Boxing Championships and in the Olympic Games.

In all these international assignments, the national and regional super heavyweight champion has won a number of medals in all of them save for Olympics and the global championships.

At 39, he was the most experienced boxer in the National Boxing Team – The Hit Squad’ after the exit of former Africa lightweight champion Nick ‘Commander’ Okoth, who retired last year at 38 years.

After retiring, Okoth ventured into coaching as a qualified AIBA Star One tactician.

AIBA Star Three level is the most advanced in the international coaching levels.

Ajowi said he was taking a rest before he decides on his next move.

“Everything that has a beginning must have an end. But that is not the end of me with boxing. I’m taking a rest before I make a concrete decision on what how I’ll serve the next generation of boxers,” he added.

He hinted on coming back either as a coach or referee.

“Although I have not made a firm decision on my next move, chances are high I’ll take up a position either as a coach or a referee,” he said.

With the exit of Ajowi, the top weight category falls in the arms of Kenya Defence Forces supremo Fred Ramogi, who was recently selected in a provisional squad announced by national head coach Musa Benjamin.

The team is preparing for the Africa Olympic Qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal in September.

“It’s up to him (Ramogi) to prove his worth in all international assignments that I have in the past shone in against him," said Ajowi.

The two boxers have been bitter rivals in the ring for the super heavyweight slot at the national team for the last 10 years. It has been a see-saw affair between the two pugilists until four years back when Ajowi proved the stronger one and he never looked back until his retirement yesterday.

Coach Benjamin described Ajowi as an experienced boxer who has served the country diligently.

Kenya Professional Boxing Commission President Reuben Ndolo advised Ajowi not to let his expertise go to waste at a time he is still energetic and urged him to join the paid ranks.

“As an experienced boxer who traversed the globe in a number of international assignments and having hanged the gloves as an energetic amateur boxer, my advice to him is to cross over to the paid ranks and earn a few dollars before he calls it a day,” said the KPBC boss.

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