Kenya’s Rayton “Boom Boom” Okwiri’s dream of making a return to Olympics is over courtesy of a controversial split decision against top seed Uganda’s David Kavuma on Sunday at the ongoing Africa qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Games in Dakar, Senegal.
Okwiri celebrated with his coaches Benjamin Musa and David Munuhe right after the middleweight bout where he seemed to have dominated in the second and third round at the Dakar Expo Centre.
However, their celebrations were short-lived when the five judges brought a split 3-2 decision in favour of the Ugandan. They scored 28-29, 29-28, 29-28, 27-30 and 29-28 for the African games silver medallist.
The decision not only left Okwiri and his handlers in shock but also the commentators on the Olympic Channel Television that is relaying the qualifiers live.
Okwiri was one of the three boxers who represented Kenya at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Kavuma will now meet Moroccan Amrani Ezzerrifi in the quarter-finals. The Moroccan beat Ethiopia’s Neka Temesgen in the second round.
Okwiri’s loss came a day after Team Kenya captain Nick Okoth sailed through to the second round of his featherweight bout.
Okoth outwitted Wilson Semedo from Cape Verde on unanimous points decision.
Okoth, who is eying at return to the Summer Games after his last appearance in 2008 in Beijing, will now meet Egyptian Fahmi Mohammed in the second round on Monday.
Okoth is among five Kenyan boxers who will take to the ring on Monday, three in men and two in women’s contest.
Deputy Team Kenya skipper Elizabeth Andiego, who is also eying her second appearance at the Summer Games since the 2012 London wildcard, is up against Rady Gramane from Mozambique in the quarter-finals of women’s middleweight bout.
Gramane, who is the second seed in the category, settled for silver at the African Games in Rabat, losing out to Moroccan El-Mardi Khadija in the final.
Khadija is the top seed in the category and will face Essiane from Cameroon in the other quarter-final duel on Monday.
Debutante Elizabeth Akinyi is up against Ghanaian Osuman Faruza in the quarter-finals of the women’s welterweight bout while African Games bronze medallist Boniface Mogunde is pitted against Albert Mengue Ayissi from Cameroon in the second round of men’s welterweight duel.
Humphrey Ochieng slugs Moroccan Assaghir Mohammed on Monday for a place in the quarter-final of the light heavyweight contest.