Former Commonwealth Games flyweight medallist Christine Ongare was among African boxers who received byes in the first round matches in fixtures released by Africa Boxing Confederation (ABC) for Africa Boxing Championships in Yaounde, Cameroon on Thursday.
As Ongare reached the last eight without throwing a jab, team captain and Africa Zone Three heavyweight gold medallist Elizabeth Andiego is set to slug it out against experienced heavyweight world champion Khadija Mardi of Morocco in the pre-quarterfinals today.
Ongare will now face Yas Mouttaki of Morocco who equally received a bye in a match to be played later in the week.
Head coach Musa Benjamin said morale was high in camp and the boxers were taking the event as a training session for the Africa Olympic Qualifiers.
“It has not been easy for the team to reach these stages. However, we are taking the event with the seriousness it deserves since it’ll shape the playing unit for the Africa Olympic Qualifiers in Senegal in two months’ time,” he told Standard Sports from Yaounde.
Benjamin is cautious with the Kenyan opponents and has advised the boxers not to be complacent in their matches from the word go.
“We have advised the players to take each match as a final if we are to reach the medal bracket in the tournament that has prize money,” Benjamin said.
Most of the Kenyan boxers start their matches in the round of 32, a development that puts in a tough condition to make it to the medal in the continental showpiece that boxes-off this afternoon.
The same boxers are the ones the Kenyan pugilists could face in the battle for Paris Olympic slots at the Africa Olympic Qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal in September.
Welterweight Friza Anyango faces Bel Ahbib Oumayma of Morocco in the pre-quarters match as light welterweight Teresia Wanjiru is pitted against Jeanine Mbala Amboki of Comoros.
Bantamweight Amina Martha takes on Sibisi Lethokuhle of South Africa in the pre-quarterfinals.
Welterweight - Friza Anyango Vs Bel Ahbib Oumayma of Morocco.
Light welterweight - Teresia Wanjiru Vs Jeanine Mbala Amboki of Comoros.
Bantamweight - Amina Martha Vs Sibisi Lethokuhle of South Africa.
Heavyweight - Elizabeth Andiego Vs Khadija Mardi of Morocco