Rumble in Kiminini
Barely a month after falling to Rukmal Prassana of Sri Lanka to exit the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Africa Zone Three bantamweight gold medallist Hassan Shaffi Bakari made amends in the first leg of the National Boxing League in Kiminini, Trans Nzoia at the weekend.
The Kenya Police boxer produced a stylish and devastating performance as he easily beat Dennis Mwenda in the bantam weight bout that left fans yearning for more even as the arbiter ended the proceedings.
Bakari fell 3-2 (29-28, 28-29, 28-29, 29-28 and 27-30) to Prasanna of Sri Lanka thus joining his captain and former African champion Nick “Commander” Okoth in exiting the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games at the first hurdle.
On a very busy evening for fights, it was a double feat for Bakari as his team (Police) emerged the overall winners of the local tournament with a total of 27 points.
In what was a closely contested affair for the top honours, Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) wound as runners with a haul of 26 points with Kibra and Kajiado, being placed in a joint third position after collecting eight points apiece.
Kibra, which is the hot bed of some of Kenya’s greatest boxers among them Olympian Omar Kasongo, was one of the teams which produced some of the youngest boxers in the championships.
But the main talking point was Bakari’s almost brandish display to the appreciation of the crowd.
“I believe I deserved this victory since I had put so many man-hours in training. It was not by luck that I won but due to sheer hard work I have been putting in training. All in all, I have put behind me the disappointment of being eliminated at the Commonwealth Games,” offered Bakari.
The other teams in the showcase including Kisumu and Vihiga managed six and four points respectively as G$$, Siaya, Trans Nzoia and Kongowea amassed three, two, one and zero points in the descending order.
Surprisingly, It was stylish boxer Abednego Kyalo who set the ball rolling at the onset of the bouts after he outpointed Silas Onyango of Kenya Police to claim a 3-0 win over his opponent.
From the first bell, Kyalo gave in as much as he received with calculated jabs most of which earned him points from the judges.
The fight was followed by a ladies fly weight contest in which Veronica Mbithe was in her true class when beating her opponent Ann Wanjiru of Kongowea 3-0.