Key Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) boxers will again miss the fifth and final leg of the National Boxing League starting Thursday at the Ofafa Memorial Hall, Kisumu.
Rabat African Games “Hit Squad” captain Nick Okoth (lightweight), African Games bronze medallist Fredrick Ramogi (Super heavyweight) and Edwin Okongó (light heavyweight) will miss the final leg.
The three boxers, who were in Team Kenya for 2019 African Games in Rabat, missed the fourth leg held in Nanyuki in October.
KDF coach Sammy Magima disclosed that they have allowed some of their boxers to concentrate on preparations for the African qualifiers for the 2020 Olympic Games. The qualifiers will be held from February 20 to 29 in Dakar, Senegal.
Magima has however said KDF will have several boxers in Kisumu, including Kevin Maina who won the flyweight category in Nanyuki, light heavyweight Hezron Maganga, heavyweight Peter Abuti, Chrispin Muremi (welterweight) and Kelvin Maina (flyweight).
International light fly Veronica Mbithe will also take to the ring in Kisumu as she also prepares for Olympic Games qualifiers. “We have nothing really to lose in Kisumu hence the decision to allow boxers time to prepare for Olympic qualifiers,” said Magima.
KDF’s archrivals Kenya Police Service team popularly known as Chafua Chafua are champions-in-waiting as they head to Kisumu with an unassailable lead of 59 points. African Games bronze medallist George Cosby (middleweight) and Boniface Mogunde (welterweight) led ‘Chafua Chafua’ pugilists to claiming victory in six of the 11 final bouts in Nanyuki.
Police placed eight boxers in the final of various categories. That saw Police stretch their lead to 93 points, followed by KDF with 34, Kibra 32, Nairobi 17 and Busia and Kisumu with 12 points each.
The battle for second place will be between KDF and Kibra which are separated by only two points.
Martin Oduor (bantam), Martin Maina (light fly), and Tobias Okeyo (super heavy), who all won their bouts for Kenya Police in Nanyuki, will join Cosby and Mogunde in Kisumu.
The good news in Kenya Police camp is that the African Games flyweight silver medallist Shaffi Bakari has recuperated from an injury that saw him fail to take the ring in the semi-final in Nanyuki.
Kibra’s John Juma (light welterweight) and Joshua Wasike (heavyweight) and Nairobi’s Benson Kamau (lightweight), who won in Nanyuki hope to extend their reign in Kisumu.
Commonwealth bronze medallist Christine Ongare of Police, Phanice Mwanaidi of Trans Nzoia and Elizabeth Akinyi are in Kisumu for the women’s battle. Boxing Federation of Kenya communications director Duncan Kuria said the weigh-in and medical check-up will take place at 8am followed by the draw at 11am and judges briefing at 12pm.