BUZZ: You have gone underground, are you running away from something?
CONJE: Running, from what? I am very much available. I have taken time off the public eye to concentrate on the Conjestina Achieng Foundation which I believe is more important than addressing press conferences every day. I have set up a foundation to help young girls and even boys learn something about boxing.
People are saying you are a victim of your success; that’s why you have gone underground?
I don’t understand how I can be a victim of my own success yet I am still trying to achieve even more. I think I was around too much and when I take a break a little bit to concentrate on some things, people will definitely talk. But I am around. I am still fighting mostly in Europe and I am making a good living and helping my son and the young girls and boys in my foundation.
But you moved to an unknown destination?
Unknown destination and you have found me? Where I was staying (in Umoja) was so crowded so I could not train well. Nowhere to take morning and evening runs easily. I decided to relocate so that I could train without disturbances. Lucky Summer (where we are) is a fairly quiet suburb, not very crowded and I am enjoying it.
Tell us about your foundation.
I set up The Conjestina Foundation a few years back with the aim of helping young boys and girls.
To become pugilists?
Yes, boxing skills is part of the programme but majorly it was motivated by the fact that young people lacked defence skills, especially girls to fight off rapists who are becoming notorious in our estates. I want them to know how to protect themselves. Further to that, I am also sensitising them on the dangers of drugs and other social vices. I want the girls to go to school and complete their education and become successful.
You have been busy; how many have benefited so far?
Maybe that explains why I am scarce on the local boxing scene. I have four in primary and secondary schools and I am training them defence skills. Then I have another seven girls and eight boys (aged above 18 years) who in addition to training them boxing, I have enrolled for art work, computers, electronics and tailoring. they also engage in small businesses in the estate.
Do you have any sponsors?
No. This is from my heart, from what I earn as a boxer.
Back to boxing. Are you holding any belts now?
Yes, I am the IFBA (International Female Boxing Association) and WIFB (Women International Boxing Federation) title holder. I had a fight in Germany some time in April for a title but the match ended in a draw, but I was the better fighter.
When will you get back to the ring locally for fans to be sure you still fight?
Maybe in August. I am organising for a homecoming bout in Kisumu.
Laila Ali, you have always wanted to fight her?
I am still thirsting for a match-up with her. I don’t think I will quit before I am in the ring with her. I will train hard to reach my optimum and if we can get a good promoter, I am still promising Kenyans a battle with Laila. And I will win.
Are you still eating chicken daily and drinking milk from Kenchic and Tuzo?
Unfortunately no. The contract expired though I must say it was a great experience being fed on milk and chicken daily. I appreciate what the two companies have done to me and I am looking forward to working with more corporates especially in this foundation so that we can identify, nurture and develop another Conje. We need more women in boxing in Kenya.
Family, someone special?
My son is in school. I miss him a lot when he is away but on holidays we spend literally every minute together. He is now in Standard Six. He is by far the best man in my life and that means there is no room as yet for another man.