Who is Anthony “Jamal” Otieno?
Answer: I am a former heavyweight boxer, having boxed for Bahati Boxing Club. I am entrepreneur with interest in real estate, transport and petroleum industry. I also manage garbage collection at the Nairobi County government.
Q: Why have you decide to contest even with minimal boxing background.
Answer: I have seen boxing going down the drain for many years. What hurt most is that clubs lack basic facilities like boxing gloves, punching bags and the ring. We can’t go nowhere as a country without these. Boxers lack motivation and have nothing to look forward to be it in amateur or professional level.
My little background is not the issue since I have passion for the sport. I am ready to change the face of boxing in the country and change is inevitable. I manage River of God (RoG) public service vehicles in Nairobi and it’s quite evident how its astute management has managed transform matatu industry in Nairobi. We have the best conductors and drivers and many have emulated that.
Garbage collection has also improved in Nairobi. I intended to replica similar approach in boxing and for sure I will use my business links will to draw sponsorship into boxing, which will help fund the youth programs among others. Boxing is a vibrant sport that can’t lack sponsorship even for the league.
They say I have not been involved in boxing but my take is that those who were involved in the game before are the ones who have mismanaged the game. Kenya’s “Hit Squad” is now a laughing stock.
Q: What will be your first priority if elected BAK chairman?
Answer: Amateur boxing is popular and huge in Kenya despite the way it has been mismanaged for many years. Without strong grassroots base then the sport will continue to dwindle.
My first priority is come out with a plan that will see the game being embraced in learning institutions right from primary school to colleges and universities. Look at athletics, football and rugby…they are being played from primary school level and boxing too can.
Secondly, there is no motivation in fighting for the national team owing to cartels that have wreaked havoc in officiating league matches and team selection. I want to say that under my leadership, it will now be prestigious donning the national colours and boxers will be highly motivated during my reign.
My team will weed out all these corrupt referees and judges and fairness will prevail. We shall have independent people managing computer scoring system to avoid manipulation.
My leadership will be all inclusive and devoid of a one-man show where the counties will have a great say in the running of the game in the country. Besides the league, we shall form inter-counties competition for both men and women boxers. We shall source out for funds to help clubs with vital facilities at the counties.
Q: There is information that you want to use boxing as a stepping stone to politics. That you have a strong backing from the ministry of sports and Nairobi County government. Is it true and don’t you thing it might hurt your chances?
Answer: On the contrary, having the support from the ministry of sports and Nairobi County government will be advantageous since the two are crucial components for the game’s development in the country. There is no way you can do without these governments hence I will use this connection to ensure that boxing fully benefit.
Let me say this, I am not interested in politics of the land.
Otieno added that he will cultivate good relationship with others sports federations especially Kenya Professional Boxing Commission and the National Olympic Committee of Kenya.
However, Otieno, who was elected Kisumu County chairman in a controversial process, called on the government to ensure that there is level playing field for all the contestants before the polls.