'WE HAVE NO CLUE'

BFK deny link to boxer Karanja's disappearance in Italy in March

Musa confirmed the development, saying Karanja vanished from camp hours after he lost his preliminary bout to Kazakhstan's Kenneth Bibossinoyoon by a unanimous decision.

In Summary

"It never dawned on us that Karanja had disappeared from camp until later in the day when his teammates reported him missing," —Musa.

•"In 2018, another Kenyan boxer Brian Agina went missing upon the conclusion of the Commonwealth Games in Australia," Musa recalled

Kenya Police's David Karanja (L) battles Moses Irungu of G44 in a past event
Kenya Police's David Karanja (L) battles Moses Irungu of G44 in a past event
Image: HANDOUT

The Boxing Federation of Kenya have refuted claims they aided Hit Squad boxer David Karanja to flee the country. 

Karanja failed to return from Italy with the rest of his compatriots all of whom floundered in their efforts to punch tickets at the first World Olympic qualifiers. 

The boxer is yet to be traced, several days after the qualifiers concluded on March 11.

In an exclusive interview, Hit Squad head coach Benjamin Musa confirmed the development, saying Karanja vanished from camp hours after he lost his preliminary bout to Kazakhstan's Kenneth Bibossinoyoon by a unanimous decision. 

"It never dawned on us that Karanja had disappeared from camp until later in the day when his teammates reported him missing," Musa remarked.

 "He told us he was going out to the streets to buy some stuff and that's the last time we saw him," he added. 

Unbeknownst to them, Karanja had something up his sleeves as he tossed his knapsack over his shoulders and hastily vacated his hotel room.

 The Africa Zone Three gold medalist would later send a message that left the Hit Squad gaffers dumbfounded. "We were getting extremely restless when he sent us a phone message giving us a hint he had no plans to return to the camp."

The message read:" Hello Coach, I'm sorry to tell you that I've decided I will not be travelling with the rest of the team back to Kenya."

Musa said efforts to get more information from the pugilists proved futile as he remained cagey with details of his whereabouts.

But Musa said he and other coaches were unfazed by the turn of events, given Karanja had merely followed a familiar pattern previously witnessed in other Kenyan boxers who also disappeared while on duty abroad. 

"In 2018, another Kenyan boxer Brian Agina went missing upon the conclusion of the Commonwealth Games in Australia," Musa recalled. 

"The boxer mysteriously disappeared from Kenya's games camp at the Athletes' Village in the city of Gold Coast as the team prepared to fly back."

Sources close to Karanja disclosed that he seemed unsettled by the setbacks in his shaky boxing career.

Karanja who plies trade for national champions Kenya Police, failed to secure a direct ticket to the quadrennial games during the September Africa Olympic qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal, and pegged his hopes on the two repechage tournaments in Italy and Thailand.

Born in Chinga, Nyeri County, Karanja drew vast inspiration from Seoul Olympics gold medalist, the late Robert Wangila.

He furiously punched his way to the top of the Kenyan boxing terrain while honing his skills under coaches Musa and Alfred 'Priest' Analo at the Undugu and Kariobangi boxing clubs respectively.