NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – Kenya’s ‘Hit Squad’ captain Nick Okoth led from the front as he punched his way to the quarter finals of the featherweight category after knocking Wilson Semedo of Cape Verde in the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Africa Qualifier in Dakar, Senegal.
Okoth, who was in the Beijing Olympics way back in 2008, is confident of going all the way and clinch the ticket, even as he is scheduled to face Egyptian Mohamed Fahmi who was handed a Bye to the quarters set for Monday.
Okoth comfortably took the first two rounds and despite a big late effort, he advanced on points, with one judge going for Semedo.
“I’m back big time in the ring and I mean business, serious business. I’ve been boxing for years because boxing means everything to me. I fight, earn, feed my family and educate my children from it,” the 36-year-old Kenya Defence Forces boxer said after the bout.
He added; “My being here as captain of the Kenyan team is also a source of inspiration to the young boxers. I know they are watching and expect a report from me, despite a strong third round, which the Cape Verdian came back hard and almost embarrassed me. So, I’m going back to the camp with good news for the rest of the team. Onwards!”
Okoth is one of the most experienced boxers in the tournament, trying to gain qualification for the Olympics. He won a Commonwealth Games gold medal a decade ago.
Kenyans will be in action on Sunday, where Africa Games silver medallist Shaffi Bakari winn step into the ring to battle it out in the flyweight after being handed a bye to the quarters.
In the corresponding women’s flyweight bout, Christine Ongare of Kenya will be up against Burundian Ornella Havyarimana in the preliminary round.
On Monday, it will be the turn of Humphrey Ochieng who will fight in the lightheavyweight category against Moroccan Mohamed Assghir while Africa Games bronze medallist Boniface Mogunde will lock horns with Algerian Chemseddine Kramou in the preliminary round of welterweight.
In the women’s side, Elizabeth Akinyi will battle it out with Faruza Osuman of Ghana in the welterweight quarterfinals.