NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – Rayton Okwiri describes his loss to Ugandan David Ssemujji at the African Olympic Qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal as ‘daylight robbery’ and has now vowed to prove his worth at the world qualifiers when new dates are announced after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Okwiri travelled to Dakar with high pedigree after giving up his African Boxing Union middleweight belt to have a shot at his second Olympics, but that dream was punched down by the Ugandan in a controversial split decision.
“I couldn’t believe when I saw his hand being lifted in the ring. I was very sure that I had beaten him and gathered more points. But unfortunately that’s how boxing is sometimes, you don’t get the decision you deserve,” Okwiri told Capital Sport.
“I had prepared really well and was confident that I would have a chance to go to the Olympics and that’s why I gave up by belt. With the new AIBA rules, we are allowed to be Pro and try out at the Olympics as well and that’s why I decided to go,” further added the Kenya Prisons officer, nicknamed ‘Boom boom’ for his swift left-right combinations.
The world qualifiers were initially set for July, but they have since been halted because of the health concerns posted by the new novel coronavirus. A new date is expected soon.
As he waits for the announcement of the second round of qualification for the Tokyo Games that will now be held in 2021, Okwiri says he is keeping in shape though normal training has been made hard because of the social distancing rules enforced by the government.
“At the moment training is not as smooth as everyone would have wished but it is a situation that we cannot have control over it. But over and above all I am trying to keep fit by doing lots of roadwork and body workouts in the house. Once in a while I also try do some gym work,” Okwiri said.
He added; “I know I will be ready when they announce when the qualifiers will be staged and I am really optimistic that I can make my second Olympics.”
Okwiri reached the quarter finals in Rio 2016 and believes he will be in a position to medal if he makes it for the Tokyo Games in 2021.
“It was very tough in 2016 and most of those I played against and together with are now full professionals. I also believe I have gathered enough experience by playing Pro for the last few years and I am a better boxer now,” stated Okwiri.