‘Boom Boom’ Okwiri ticking with intent

Wednesday March 18 2020
By AYUMBA AYODI

Olympian Rayton “Boom Boom” Okwiri says he already has a plan that will halt seeded David Kavuma from Uganda when they meet in the second round of their middleweight fight of African qualifiers for 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the Dakar International Expo Centre in Senegal on Sunday.

On Thursday, Okwiri outclassed Libyan Salem Emhemed to set up the showdown with the Ugandan.

Kavuma is the 2019 African Games silver medallist and got a bye to Sunday’s second round for a place in the quarter-finals.

“We are crafting a game plan for him with the coaches after watching clips of his previous bout. I know he is quite physical but that can’t beat my experience and technique,” said Okwiri. “I am ready for him.”

Okwiri, the only boxer in the Kenyan team who competed in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, got the nod from all the five judges after scoring 30-25, 30-23, 30-25, 30-25 and 30-25 in his first round match.

“I was able to dominate all the three rounds but that’s nothing close to my best,” Okwiri said afterwards.

“I felt a bit heavy, sort of a burning sensation on my chest — could be the change of climate. But we will work on that.”

Okwiri dropped from professional ranks to contest for a place at the Olympics after winning the Africa Boxing Union (ABU) middleweight title. Kavuma lost to Tarik Allali of Morocco in the African Games final.

Two Kenyan boxers were due to take the ring Friday night.

Joseph Shigali was scheduled to fight Wajib Omal Abdul of Ghana in a lightweight first round bout, with the winner destined to face Carlos Mugamba of Mozambique in the second round on Sunday.

Featherweight Beatrice Okoth was due to face Ali Ahmed of Somalia in a first round clash with the winner facing second seeded Hilmi Khouloud of Tunisia on Monday.

On Saturday, Team Kenya captain Nick Okoth, who fought at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, meets Wilson Semedo of Cape Verde in a featherweight first round contest.

The winner will face Egyptian Fahmi Mohammed in the second round on Monday.

Commonwealth bronze medallist Christine Ongare faces Omella Havyarimana from Burundi in their flyweight fight on Sunday, with the winner securing a quarter-final date with second seeded Zalia Munga of Congo on Tuesday.

Also on Sunday, African Games silver medallist Shaffi Bakari takes on Tetteh Sulemanu in a second round contest of flyweight category. Sulemanu booked the date with Shaffi on Thursday after he eliminated Mohamed Morsy.