NAIROBI, July 21- Fighters signed up for the July 31 Big Time Boxing Promotions fight card in Nairobi are hoping it will not be another case of the con that has stagnated the professional sport in the country.
Local boy James Onyango, will battle for the new Africa Commonwealth Welterweight Championship belt against Uganda’s Patrick Atuhairwe in the main 12-round bout.
East and Central African title holder, Serah Achieng will be seeking to defended her belt when she takes on Evelyn Odero for the national Lightweight Championship in 10-round bout.
Other under card features national title showdowns where Nick Otieno will enter the ring against Elijah Mringie in bantamweight as Fred Nyakesha trades blows with John Gicheru for the lightweight crown.
Speaking in Nairobi as they intensified training for the fights that will be held at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium, the long-suffering pro pugilists are angling for the days when the ring will once again pay in the country.
“The fight is very important to me because if I win, it will give me a chance to fight for world titles like WBC, WBO and IBA. I have been preparing for the last two months and I’m ready to knock out the Ugandan.
“We have never met before but I stand a big chance since he will be coming to my territory. I have competed with stronger boxers than him so if he has not trained well, he will have a difficult time,” Onyango, who holds the Kenya title in his division, confidently declared at his Kariobangi North Social Hall training base.
The 33-year-old pro who has had unsuccessful bouts in Russia, Uzbekistan, Namibia, and Tanzania said the bad reputation of local promoters has kept away sponsors and left them struggling to eke a living, often taking up side jobs such as security bouncers to make ends meet.
“Promoters have really taken us for granted. I have played three fights but I have never been paid to date. Sometimes we are given Sh200 and wonder what it will do and yet the fight was sponsored and there was entrance fee.
“But we have faith in Big Time Boxing Promotion since they have already given the Kenya Professional Boxing Commission money in advance. We have signed the contracts and we are waiting for the weigh-in on Thursday in to finalise everything.
“Boxing should pay but it’s not the case in Kenya. The richest sportsman is a boxer so it’s high time promoters do it for the love of the game and not for their own gain,” Onyango, whose role model is superstar, Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather, underscored.
The women’s title bout will see Achieng enter as favourite having won the East and Central Africa featherweight belt in 2012 and recently fighting Judy Nyaguthie in six-round affair she controversially lost.
“This title is mine and there is no doubt about that. I can’t let it go. The fight will help me improve my ranking. I am in a good shape because I beat Judy who is more experienced than I.
“For a very long time, conmen in the name of promoters have been here. It’s very sad a boxer trains for three months then on fight day, the promoter disappears with entry fees.
“They have disappointed us in the past but we are positive this time since we have already signed contracts,” the-27-year old explained.
Odero, (30) on the other hand who got the opportunity after Nyaguthie turned down the invite, will be out for her maiden belt despite being a professional for over a decade.
“The fight is important to me because I have never been given a belt to fight for, so I must give it my all. I know there will be competition since she has won titles but I’m going there knowing I’m a winner too. It will determine my next fight,” she underscored.