•BFK national secretary-general David Munuhe said the final squad will be selected after a comprehensive three-day tournament slated for August 25 at Nairobi's Charter Hall.
•Hit Squad captain, Nick Okoth, and bantamweight Shaffi Bakari — fresh from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games — headline the list of boxers who will punch furiously on the bag for the national team slots.
The Boxing Federation of Kenya (BFK) has picked a provisional squad of 72 boxers ahead of the African Amateur Boxing Championships in Maputo, Mozambique.
The premier annual showpiece, organized by the continental governing body ABU, is set to run from September 9-18.
In an exclusive interview on Sunday, BFK national secretary-general David Munuhe said the final squad will be selected after a comprehensive three-day tournament slated for August 25 at Nairobi's Charter Hall.
Munuhe reckoned they had picked the cream of the country.
“We chose the best boxers in their respective weight categories. Our decision was based on individual performance at previous tournaments,” Munuhe said.
“You may have realized that we have more boxers in some weight divisions. That's because the divisions are more competitive and we don't want to make anybody feel left out,” he added.
In a letter addressed to BFK affiliates, Munuhe also said female boxers who have passed the intermediate stage will be allowed to prove their mettle in the trials.
Hit Squad captain, Nick Okoth, and bantamweight Shaffi Bakari — fresh from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games — headline the list of boxers who will punch furiously on the bag for the national team slots.
Upon arrival from Birmingham a week ago, Hit Squad head coach Musa Benjamin hinted at embarking on immediate preparations.
“Our next focus is the forthcoming Africa Boxing Championship that begins in Maputo next month. Actually, we received an invitation to the tournament when we were still in Birmingham,” Musa said.
“Due to limited time, we shall be meeting next week to organize a tournament at the end of the month where we will select boxers for the event. We hope to raise and deploy a full team.”
BFK's decision to summon 72 boxers to camp is not surprising considering an observation made by Hit Squad coach Musa.
Musa said a lean squad in Birmingham compromised Kenya's medal prospects and urged the National Olympics Committee of Kenya (NOCK) to allow more boxers to grace the gobal stage.
Kenya had only four boxers in Birmingham who were all beaten in the preliminary bouts.
“We could have registered a far much better performance if we had taken more boxers with us to Birmingham,” Musa said.
“A country stands a better chance to win medals if the participants are spread across various weight categories. Unfortunately, we only had four boxers and that only limited our medal prospects,” he added.
During the Brazzaville 2017 Africa Championships in the Republic of Congo, Kenya placed eighth in the medal tally after bagging one gold and four bronze medals.
Whereas Nick Okoth won the country's sole gold medal, light-fly Shaffi Bakari, middleweight John Kyalo, light-flyweight Christine Ongare and middle Elizabeth Akinyi all won bronze for Kenya.
In Maputo, Hit Squad will look to shake off their torrid run at the Commonwealth Games where the quartet that was tasked with flying the country's flag, crushed out in the preliminary bouts.
Minimumweight 48kg: Abednego Kyalo, Cyrus Onyango, Abdala Juma, Abdala Athumani, Alex Ndungu, Joshua Maina, Anthony Mutua.
Flyweight 52kg: David Karanja, Kevin Maina, Mohammed Hussein, Raphael Shigali, Morris Irungu, Lawrence Owino, Abdiaziz Abdi, Abeid Hussein.
Bantamweight 54kg: Mwinyi Kombo (pictured), Shaffi Bakari, Dennis Muthama, Michael Donga, Cyrus Wandera, Paul Oduor.
Featherweight 57kg: Samue Njau, Isaac Meja, Martin Oduor, Robert Gachui, Joseph Karumba.
Lightweight 60kg: Nick Okoth, John Mwanzia, George Wainaina, David Mao, Washington Wandera, Francis Riziki, Daniel Omondi, Joshua Clive, Azaad Nazir, Abdullah Nyawa, Reagan Odindo, James Ng'ang'a.
Light-welterweight 63.5kg: Ethan Maina, Victor Odhiambo, Anthony Maina, Austin Anyalo, Hassan Wanande, Fredrick Onyango, Abednego Meshack.
Welterweight 67kg: Joseph Shigali, Chrispine Murimi, Musa Gitonga, Moses Biko, Steve Olang, John Juma, Lenox Kusimba, Mareba Mwita.
Light-middle 71kg: Boniface Mogunde, Lucky Nyiro, Eldrick Masila, Chris Orengo.
Middleweight 75kg: Sinzore Sande, Edwin Okongo, William Kiplagat, Nicodemus Okwaro,
Light-heavy 80kg: Francis Denga, George Cosby, Robert Okaka.
Cruiserweight 86kg: Hezron Maganga, Chris Ochanda.
Heavyweight 92kg: Peter Abuti, Joshua Wasike.
Super-heavyweight 92+: Elly Ajowi, Fred Ramogi, Felix Oyier and Brian Omondi.