ROAD TO BIRMINGHAM

Maina crashes out as Okoth, Mugunde sail through in Jamal Cup

Hit Squad captain, Nick Okoth, had his opponent Reagan Odindo on the back foot in the first round of their scheduled three-round lightweight bout, forcing the referee to halt proceedings to avert further damage.

In Summary

•Bonface Mogunde of Police left Laikipia's Ali Shaban for dead in the middleweight category as another Hit Squad member George Cosby of Police made light work of Kajiado's Samuel Kugeluk. 

Hit Squad coaches led by head coach Benjamin Musa are following the event keenly to refresh the national team ahead of the 2022 AIBA Women World Championship scheduled for March in Istanbul, Turkey as well as the 2022 Commonwealth Games slated for July 2022 in Birmingham UK.•

Fans cheer their favourite boxers during the President Jamal Cup at Charter Hall, Nairobi
Fans cheer their favourite boxers during the President Jamal Cup at Charter Hall, Nairobi
Image: /HAND OUT

Veteran pugilist Ethan Maina's big fall was a key highlight as the inaugural President Jamal Boxing tournament entered its second day at the Charter Hall in Nairobi on Thursday.

The former Hit Squad member crashed unexpectedly to Fred Onyango from Nairobi in the shock lightweight category outcome, even as his former colleagues in the national team sailed through to the next round unbruised.

"I cannot have any excuse for the result, the fight was okay and my opponent deserves his shot at qualifying for the Commonwealth Games," said Maina.

Hit Squad captain, Nick Okoth, had his opponent Reagan Odindo on the back foot in the first round of their scheduled three-round lightweight bout, forcing the referee to halt proceedings to avert further damage.

Bonface Mogunde of Police left Laikipia's Ali Shaban for dead after working him out in the middleweight category, as another Hit Squad member George Cosby of Police made light work of Kajiado's Samuel Kugeluk. 

Flyweight Shaffi Bakari cruised to the next round without breaking sweat after his fight against Meshack Mbithi was abandoned.

The tournament, which kicked off on Wednesday afternoon, attracted 136 boxers on the first day of the competition, including 124 male and 24 female pugilists drawn from all over the country.

Other than Okoth, Africa Zone Three super heavyweight champion Elly Ajowi, bantamweight Elizabeth Akinyi and flyweight Christine Ongare all of whom flew the country's flag at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, are also expected to have a soft passage. 

Hit Squad coaches led by head coach Benjamin Musa are following the event keenly to refresh the national team ahead of the 2022 AIBA Women World Championships scheduled for March in Istanbul, Turkey as well as the 2022 Commonwealth Games slated for July 2022 in Birmingham, UK.

The competitions will also gear boxers towards January’s Africa Continental Championships. Musa said the platform offers him a perfect opportunity to reconstitute the national team.

“This is a big tournament for us. It will be added to the event’s calendar of the boxing federation. It is also an opportunity for me, as coach to scout for new talent,’’ said Musa.

Competition secretary John Waweru revealed that a second edition of the tournament would be held in three weeks.

“This is the first edition but because we’ve been out for so long, we decided to have two events. The second edition will be held in Kisumu in mid-December, in about a month. This will only be for the top 5 boxers in each category of this first edition,’’ noted Waweru.