Sports

Okwiri ready to floor tough Congolese opponent Kalombo for global boxing title in South Africa

Thursday, June 16th, 2022 10:27 | By
Kenya’s Africa middleweight champion Rayton Okwiri during a training session with his coach David Kiilu on Tuesday at Pumwani Community Centre in Majengo, Nairobi. PD/John Ochieng

Africa middleweight champion Rayton Okwiri is unfazed by the international acclaim of Congolese boxers in the bare-chested sport.

Martin Baloke, Daddy Saleh, Quedrigue Moke, Wabanku Banku and Herry Saliku Biembe are among the Congolese pugilists who have dominated the professional boxing landscape in the Central Africa Republic.

Okwiri has declared that he is out to teach Congolese Emmany Kalombo a lesson in the pursuit of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) super welterweight title fight on June 30 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“I’m not fighting DRC Congo but one of their boxers. I gather that he (Kalombo) is a tough boxer who comes from the same stable with a Congolese boxer who I have previously beaten,” said Okwiri while referring to Augustine Matata whom he outlasted to clinch the Africa Boxing Union (ABU) title at City Hall in 2019.

Boxing career

Okwiri who is training at Pumwani’s Pal Pal gymnasium under his trainer David Kiilu added: “Victory will not only be a big plus in my boxing career but also an opportunity for me to make Kenyans proud.”

Perhaps to send his point home ahead of the fight dubbed Rumble in Johannesburg, Okwiri left his sparring partner Micheal Oduor with a bloody nose although he was quick to point out that he is not up there yet and would undergo polishing before he faces Kalombo.

His trainer Kiillu, who shone for the Nairobi County team during his heydays, reckoned that Okwiri has what it takes to outpoint the Congolese.

“I’m confident in the power of Okwiri’s fists. The big advantage is that I have watched Kalombo’s clips on YouTube and have identified his weakness which will be advantageous to Okwiri,” said Kiilu.

During his last fight in October 2021, Okwiri made short work of Uganda’s John Serunjogi whom he knocked out in the 8th round in a non-title middleweight bout in Dar es Salam, Tanzania.

On the other hand, Kalombo’s last fight was in April this year when he knocked out Malawi’s Chikondi Makawa in the third round adding to his barrage of early-round knockouts.

In the meantime, Okwiri will be accompanied by three fans to cheer him in South Africa, including Ray Daniel Ligembe, Ahmed Juma Njuguna and Pastor Philip Muono.

Victory for Okwiri will inch him closer to a shot at the IBF world title.

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