Sport

Boom Boom' Okwiri puts ABU title on the line

Boom Boom' Okwiri puts ABU title on the line
  • Okwiri, a former Olympian, knocked out Tanzanian Hussein Itaba to claim the vacant ABU middleweight title on June 8 at Charter Hall.
  • Matata last fought South African Karabo Mokupi, who he knocked out on February 24 this year at Emperors Palace, Kempton Park in South Africa.

Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amina Mohammed has backed Kenya's Rayton “Boom Boom” Okwiri to retain his Africa Boxing Union (ABU) middleweight title on Saturday starting 7pm at Charter Hall, Nairobi.

Amina rallied boxing fans to come out in numbers to support Okwiri and she promised to meet both the Kenya Professional Boxing Commission (KPBC) and Boxing Federation of Kenya (BFK) to chat the way forward for the game.

“I would like all to come out and support Okwiri and other Kenyans as they battle,” said Amina, who promised to attend the bout.

Amina was speaking when he hosted Okwiri and other KPBC officials at her Kencom House office, Nairobi Friday morning.

Okwiri assured Amina and his fans across the world that he has done everything at his disposal to ensure that he is ready to defend his crown against Augustine Matata from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I have trained well for three months now, but the last push that I now need is from my fans to come out in numbers to cheer me,” said the 33-year-old Okwiri, who has been working on his speed and footwork ahead of his title defence.

FIVE WINS EACH

Okwiri was accompanied by KPBC chairman Reuben Ndolo and secretary general Frankline Imbenzi.

“We are happy and grateful for the invite by Amina since I am sure Okwiri is now inspired,” said Ndolo, adding that Amina promised to support both the amateur and professional boxing to grow in the country.

“She is keen on the national team, Hit Squad, regaining its past glory saying a good amateur foundation will be manifested right down to the professional level,” said Ndolo.

“She said boxing also should get financial assistant like athletics, rugby and football.”

Okwiri’s opponent was expected Friday evening after the delay occasioned by lack of flights from Kinshasa.

Both Okwiri and Matata are undefeated. Okwiri enjoy five wins, which include four KOs (5-0-1) and a draw, while Matata, who is based in Gauteng, South Africa, has seven wins including four KOs(7-0-0).

Southpaw's Okwiri reckoned that Matata looks strong and has powerful strikes after having gone through his previous fights video clips.

"We have a game plan for that and more so, I have good ring experience compared to him. Speed work and ring movement will do the trick," said Okwiri, adding that he is a better boxer than when he won the title six months ago

ABU TITLE

Okwiri has been training under the watchful eyes of former Kenyan internationals David "Computer” Kiilu and Daniel Shisia. Also in his training camp is trainer Edwin Ongoro and sparring partner Dek Ahmed.

Okwiri, a former Olympian, knocked out Tanzanian Hussein Itaba to claim the vacant ABU middleweight title on June 8 at Charter Hall.

Matata last fought South African Karabo Mokupi, who he knocked out on February 24 this year at Emperors Palace, Kempton Park in South Africa.

The Solid Rock Promotion extravaganza has several “support non-title contests featuring Kenyans; national heavyweight champion Morris Okolla and super lightweights Nick Mwangi.

Okolla, 37, (10-3-0) will take on Limbani Lano, 30, (6-6-1) from Malawi in the ABU elimination bout. Mwangi is up against Limbani Chikapa (9-7-0) also from Malawi.

Other bouts:

Joshua Osotsi v Nick Otieno (featherweight- eight rounds); Sarah Achieng v Mary Nasimiyu (super featherweight-six rounds), Evelyne Adero v Joyce Awino (super lightweight- six rounds), Reba Machada v Gladys Msafi (lightweight-six rounds).