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WARDERS PLOT BIG

Prisons hope to return bigger and stronger as they seek to beef up

All has not been well with the 1999 league champions following transition of their core team.

In Summary

•Aziz Ali, who boxed in the Beijing 2008 Summer Games and Rio Olympian Okwiri turned professional while Ngumba and Shisia retired after attaining the age of 40 

•The team also suspended flyweight boxer Harrison Mathuku earlier in the year due to what Maina termed as indiscipline.

Rayton Okwiri in action during the Rio2016 Olympic Games
Rayton Okwiri in action during the Rio2016 Olympic Games
Image: COURTESY

Kenya Prisons hope to beef up their squad as they seek to compete on equal footing with their opponents Police and Kenya Defence Forces.

Prisons’ coach and 1987 All Africa Games gold medallist, Maurice ‘Kawata’ Maina said they are tired of living in the shadows of their ring adversaries.

“Our plan going forward is making it possible for our boxers to compete on an equal footing with the other teams,” said Maina.

 

All has not been well with the 1999 league champions following transition of their core team.

Prisons have over the years lost a realistic opportunity for recruiting the best of the best due to limited job opportunities. The team used to produce some of Kenya’s finest, but not any more.

Longstanding international Daniel Shisia, Olympians Aziz Ali, Bernard Ngumba and Rayton Okwiri ‘Boom Boom’ are some of the notable Prisons’ boxers who reigned in the ring on both locally and international scene but they have since moved on due to various reasons.

Aziz Ali, who boxed in the Beijing 2008 Summer Games and Rio Olympian Okwiri turned professional while Ngumba and Shisia retired after attaining the age of 40 which is the limit for any amateur boxer to fight in the ranks. Ngumba was a member of Kenya’s Beijing team.

Maina admits the situation in the team wasn’t that favourable last season given a number of reasons. The team also suspended flyweight boxer Harrison Mathuku earlier in the year due to what Maina termed as indiscipline.

Current mainstays in the warders’ outfit are lightweight Francis Riziki, welterweight Jacob Kimanthi, and bantamweight Joseph Okello.

“Last year, we were compelled to field a leaner team due to some of the challenges we faced as a club. The plan was to beef up accordingly this season but things became difficult over the past few months with Coronavirus issues. All is not lost though as we are hoping the situation will allow us to play a few matches before the season ends,” said Maina. Maina said he had plans to recruit two boxers but were later taken by KDF.

 

“It’s after the Intermediate Championship that teams settle on their squads for the season. That is the period many clubs recruit after ascertaining the form of many upcoming boxers. Sadly, the outbreak of the pandemic has made it increasingly impossible to have any matches,” added Maina.

While Maina hopes action will resumes, he said holding the league may be a mission impossible.

“I think there will be no realistic opportunity to hold the league this season given the pandemic situation at the moment. “However, I hope Boxing Federation of Kenya (BFK) will be able to run one or two tournaments. Last year was really bad.

“We only featured six boxers in the league. We also got affected with BFK politics,” said Maina.

The 2020 calendar has only featured the Novices and Intermediate Championships in Nairobi and Thika respectively.

The Intermediates, which were to precede the league and Kenya Open, ended unceremoniously at final level when the Government of Kenya banned social gathering.