Forgotten champ Okusi calls out ‘shady’ boxing promoters

Thomas 'Black Rhino' Okusi (C) displays his Kenya Professional Boxing Commission heavyweight title with Hot96 ...
Thomas 'Black Rhino' Okusi (C) displays his Kenya Professional Boxing Commission heavyweight title with Hot96 show hosts Jeff and Jalas. (PHOTO/John Kyanda)

Kenya’s heavyweight champion Thomas ‘Black Rhino’ Okusi says lack of a streamlined management and little interest from the government in sport is killing local talent.

Okusi lamented that the situation has created a thriving environment for malicious promoters to shortchange boxers, leaving them penniless.


“Even if you give a street boy this belt and tell them to put on and walk around freely, they will do so because it has lost value. I can’t just stay indoors the whole day and expect it to bring food on the table. This title represents the life I live but now I have to find a way to providing for family,” Okusi said.

The hard-hitter was speaking to Jeff and Jalas on the Hot96 breakfast show where he said he has been forced to work as a bouncer at a local joint along the Thika Road just so he could feed his family.

“I walk in the streets of Nairobi and people give me champion attention then I get to ask myself whether they know what I go through; how i struggle to provide for my family. Sometimes I give them a sad look and they end up apologizing but I tell them it’s not their fault that am in this state,” a saddened Okusi said.

Okusi won the national title 12 years ago but the Kenya Professional Boxing Commission is yet to organise a title defense bout for him. He has since retired from the sport.

“Promoters should be out to ensure fighters advance to bigger stages and land more lucrative deals but this is not happening. Most of them are shady and in the business to rip off the fighter,” he lamnted.

“They need to be held accountable.”

The Black Rhino as he is famously known holds the national heavyweight title yet his story represents the harsh realities that plague the lives of Kenya’s professional boxers.

“I might not be the only legend suffering there are many more only that their stories have not been and all these has been brought by poor management of federations whose leaders lack of accountability,” he underscored.

During the show, hosts Jeff and Jalas used the opportunity to appeal to their audience to raise money for his support and had racked up KSh100,000 by the time of his departure.

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Story By John Kyanda
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