•Hit Squad head coach, Benjamin Musa, exuded confidence ahead of the extravaganza.
•Eight will fly the country's flag at the premier annual showpiece set to run from September 9 to 18.
Kenyan boxers stand to walk away with Sh1.2 million each if they bag titles at the ongoing African Boxing Championship that began in Maputo on Sunday.
Speaking during the opening ceremony at the Hotel Gloria in Maputo, the African Boxing Confederation (AFBC) president, Joseph Mendouga, said it’s the first time ever boxers are being paid in Africa’s premier boxing event.
Gold medalist will bag Sh1,204,000 ($10,000 ), silver medallists Sh602,000 ($5000 ) and bronze medallists Sh301,000 ($2500 ).
“I have good news for you. During this competition, your prize money will become a reality for the first time in Africa. I ask the boxers to fight with honour and dignity,” Mendouga said.
The AFBC honcho was full of praise for the Mozambican government for staging the continental showpiece, saying the event was meant to unite the continent.
“This tournament will bring all the African countries together. Let me firmly thank the Mozambican government for authorizing and facilitating the holding of this important competition of our confederation,” Mendouga said.
“This is a testimony of your government’s devotion to the advancement of the youths,” he added. Mendouga thanked the world boxing body, AIBA, for supporting African programmes.
“During the extraordinary congress of African Boxing Confederation, I took the decision to promote our sports and we now have a chance to prove ourselves to the world in this event,” Mendouga said.
“The implementation of my actual programme is starting here in Maputo with not only the organization of this competition but also by hosting the training courses of officials.
“This competition will constitute the relaunching of our activities.”
Hit Squad head coach, Benjamin Musa exuded confidence ahead of the extravaganza. Eight boxers will fly the country’s flag at the premier annual showpiece set to run from September 9 to 18.
The star-studded squad (five men and three women) selected for the championship includes lightweight Nick Okoth, bantamweight Shaffi Bakari, minimum weight Christine Ongare and light-heavyweight Elizabeth Andiego.
The quartet held down the fort for the country at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games that concluded last month. Musa has pledged a medal haul, insisting that the Kenyan pugilists possess the mojo to bask in glory.
“We are most definitely expecting medals. The boxers we’ve picked for the competition are full of experience. For example, we have our captain Nick Okoth, who boasts of a wealth of experience from many tournaments,” Musa said.
The boxers have been stropping their talons for the past week at the Mathare Depot in Nairobi.
They were all identified after a rigorous selection process conducted at the Kaloleni Social Hall in Nairobi a fortnight ago.
Musa was forced to trim down the squad from an initial provisional list of 72 boxers who were further whittled down to 29 before the final team of eight was unveiled.
The team received a shot in the arm last week following a Sh2.5 million boost from the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK).
to cater for their trip.
Men—51kg: David Karanja, 54kg: Shaffi Bakari, 57kg: Samuel Njau, 60kg: Nick Okoth, 71kg: Boniface Mogunde; Women— 48kg: Christine Ongare, 54kg Amina Martha, 75kg: Elizabeth Andiego; Technical bench: Benjamin Musa (head coach), David Munuhe (deputy coach) and John Waweru (coach).