Okong'o bows out of World Olympic Qualifiers in Thailand

Heavyweight boxer Edwin Okong’o. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

It was a sad day for the Hit Squad after Africa Games middleweight gold medallist Edwin Okong’o exited the second leg of World Olympic Qualifiers in Thailand.

Okong’o, who was an inspiration to the rest of the squad after winning his opening match against Mahamadou Gory of Mali on the second day of the showpiece, lost on points to Ganzorig Dalai of Mongolia.

Okong'o was expected to cruise into the medal bracket, being one of the experienced boxers in the squad alongside team captain and Mandela Cup heavyweight medallist Elizabeth Andiego.

Head coach Musa Benjamin said the loss has not affected other boxers in contention as the technical bench had addressed their mental fitness in the fight for top honours.

“Yes, Okong’o has lost. But winning and losing is part of the game. We have already addressed this with boxers who are yet to take the ring. We have managed to come up with strategies to prepare them psychologically,” Benjamin said from Bangkok Indoor Stadium in Thailand.

The coach admitted the Mongolian was too good for Okong’o.

“Mongolian Ganzorig Dalai’s speed was high for the Kenyan boxer and by the time Okong’o realised that, it was too late for him to recover. That’s how he lost the match,” added Benjamin.

"The battle is still on and we are not stopping our mission here (Thailand) since we are here for serious business. We want to grab a slot or two to the Olympics."

This loss comes in the wake of another by Africa Boxing Championships light middleweight bronze medallist Boniface Mogunde who lost to Welsh Aiden of Ireland on unanimous points decision on Sunday.

Aiden is the 2020 Tokyo Olympics light middleweight bronze medallist.

Three more Kenyan boxers are yet to take the ring.

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