•The stylish pugilist said he is elated to have secured a chance to battle for a ticket to Birmingham and has vowed to prove his mettle.
•Bakari, whose stellar career took off in the humble neighbourhood of Kariobangi in Nairobi, appreciates the fact that victory won't come easy.
Africa Zone 3 bantamweight champion Shaffi Bakari reckons he has sharpened his talons well enough to barge past his opponents at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next month.
Bakari, who is among the eight boxers currently limbering up for the Games at Moi Stadium, Kasarani, believes he has gathered sufficient expertise from the coaches.
“Our coaches are doing a great job. They have imparted a great deal of knowledge for the past three weeks we've been in camp and I now feel ready for the task ahead,” Bakari said.
“The coaches are concentrating on each of the boxers and rectifying individual shortcomings."
“What's even more encouraging is the presence of sparring partners, who have been brought on board to push us to the desired heights. One of them is a southpaw and training with him helps us prepare for all kinds of opponents,” he added.
The stylish pugilist said he is elated to have secured a chance to battle for a ticket to Birmingham and has vowed to prove his mettle.
Bakari reckons his masterstroke finish in Kinshasa, Congo will be adequate inspiration for the arduous task ahead.
He was part of the gallant squad that fired Kenya to a momentous medal haul at the regional tournament; including six gold, five silver and seven bronze medals.
“I'm determined to emulate my performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, where I made it to the round of 16. My goal is to make it to the medal bracket in Birmingham and if possible, stand tall and proud as the national anthem is sung in my honour for winning gold,” Bakari said.
He reckons he gathered a lot of expertise in Congo to fire him to unprecedented glory in Birmingham.
“Even though I would have preferred to participate in more tournaments before our trip to Birmingham, I believe the lessons I learned in Congo will propel me to victory,” he said.
Bakari, whose stellar career took off in the humble neighbourhood of Kariobangi in Nairobi, appreciates the fact that victory won't come easy.
“I'm glad I managed to perform well in Kinshasa but that doesn't mean I should relax now. In boxing, anything is possible and the biggest mistake would be to underrate an opponent,” he said.
Other than the Africa Zone 3 Championship, Bakari reckons he accumulated invaluable lessons during his trip with the national team to Serbia for the World Boxing Championships held in October despite the team returning home empty-handed.