The local boxing on Saturday paid glowing tribute to Commonwealth and All Africa Games light heavyweight bronze medallist Joshua Mokonjio Ndere, who died on Friday evening.
The 30-year-old Ndere’s life was cut short in a road accident along the Nairobi-Mombasa Highway.
The Defence Force pugilist attached to Kenya Navy was one of Kenya’s medal prospects for 2012 London Olympics.
He was driving from Mombasa to Nairobi when his car collided with on-coming vehicle in Samburu area at around 3pm.
Kenya Navy boxing coach Edwin Ngunjiri said Kenya has lost a gem from its boxing collection.
“It’ a sad story, given that he also lost his spouse some years back. He has gone too soon and we shall dearly him,” said Ngunjiri, adding that an official notification of his death was due.
Ngunjiri said Ndere was due to start his annual leave on Monday and was driving from his base in Mombasa to Nairobi.
Apparently, the car Ndere was driving, Toyota G-Touring, was new.
Amateur Boxing Association of Kenya chairman, Samson Mugasha described Ndere as an icon and a mentor to many boxers.
“He was a disciplined and cultured boxer with a good heart,” said Mugasha.
Kenya Professional Boxing Commission secretary Shabaan Ogolla praised the late Ndere, saying: “Kenya has lost a great boxer. His style of boxing was a reminiscent of his charismatic personality.”
Ndere jumped to international limelight when he won bronze at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia and excelled at the 2007 All Africa Games in Algeria.
He was set to represent Kenya at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but missed the games while on official military duty.
His last major assignment was at the World Military Games in Brazil, where he lost in the preliminary rounds after missing out on the Pan African games in Mozambique due to power struggles that have rocked the ABA.
He was in Kenya’s team for the 2009 World Boxing championships in Italy.
Ndere, Benson Gicharu (silver) and Nick Okoth (bronze) are the only pugilist who won medals for Kenya at the 2010 Commonwealth games in India.