‘Commander’ Okoth punches back to Olympics


Africa Boxing Championship gold medallist Nick Okoth in a past action. Photo/ Courtesy.
(FILE)Africa Boxing Championship gold medallist Nick Okoth in a past action. Photo/ Courtesy.

In Summary

  • Kenya’s boxer Nick Okoth, will make a comeback to the Olympics, 12 years after he boxed in Beijing. Okoth, used all his ring craft to poach an early lead against Isaac Masembe, of Uganda, in their featherweight semi-final, and stayed out of trouble to secure a unanimous points decision
  • The Hit squad captain well known as the ‘Commander’ is just a few weeks short of his 37th birthday, edged out the Ugandan in a 4-1 decision to qualify for the final, triumphed in 28-29, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 and 29-28 to make his second appearance at the Olympics

Kenya’s boxer Nick Okoth, will make a comeback to the Olympics, 12 years after he boxed in Beijing. Okoth, used all his ring craft to poach an early lead against Isaac Masembe, of Uganda, in their featherweight semi-final, and stayed out of trouble to secure a unanimous points decision.

The Hit squad captain well known as the ‘Commander’ is just a few weeks short of his 37th birthday, edged out the Ugandan in a 4-1 decision to qualify for the final, triumphed in 28-29, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 and 29-28 to make his second appearance at the Olympics.

“My wife called me and told me, ‘go get the ticket’. I told her, “don’t you understand how tough the fights here are?’ She said, “You are tougher!” he said the elated boxer. Adding,

“You know to go back where I have been 12 years later is something…I will never forget this day. None of the Kenyans who fought today have made it so I know what this means for them, the coaches and Kenyans.”

In the flyweight category Christine Ongare will be back to try her final chance against Catherine Nanziri from Uganda in the box off having lost her semifinal to tournament third seed Rabab Cheddar from Morocco

Elizabeth Akinyi failed to overcome a shoulder injury and lost in her welterweight semifinal bout to No 1 seed from Morocco Oumaya Bel Ahbib.

In heavyweight Elly Ajowi Ochola lost to Baala Youness from morocco on a unanimous decision.

A total of 26 boxers booked their places at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Algeria qualified seven boxers, Morocco saw four qualify and Zambia three, which was every member of their team. There were two qualifiers from Cameroon, Mozambique and Tunisia, as well as one each from Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mauritius, and Namibia.

There are still another seven places up for grabs in the box-offs.

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Story By Philip Muchiri
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