NAIROBI, Kenya, May 1 – Whenever you’re wallowing in misery trying to make your ends meet, it may only be for a season as every cloud has a silver lining!
Longstanding Kenya Open Champion Elly Ajowi is one such good example. The former Dandora resident used to earn between Ksh 100 to 300 on a good day and sometimes nothing when the going got tough.
Today, Elly is glad he realized his boxing potential when he was a tout.
“Tough times may as well harden your character and make you a sensible and significant person in the society,” Ajowi, who was recently promoted to a post of a Corporal attached to the Railways Police quipped.
Ajowi narrated to Capital FM Sport on how he rose from obscurity to a boxer of national repute and eventually rising through the ranks to a National Police Service Corporal.
As a young enthusiastic Dandora resident, Ajowi would stroll the teeming streets of Dandora Phase 4 without proper shoes and not sure where the next meal would come from.
“It was like a fate worse than death. A very close friend called Omolo, who was then our next-door neighbor, was a tout at Country Bus. He is the dude who came to my rescue. At the time, I tried my hand on construction sites which I can tell you for sure isn’t for the fainthearted,” Ajowi recounted.
“He gave me shoes. So, one day he asked me to accompany him. I used to wake up as early as 5am. One day I was down with malaria and sadly at the bus terminus when you skip a day you don’t make any money. When life became tough, the only other escape from poverty was being a tout,” Ajowi added.
“It was better than nothing. Many youths in the slums during our time resorted to crime and violence when things didn’t work out their way. Our nature of job at the bus terminus was nevertheless not for the lily-livered.”
“With a small daily income, I had to hustle on a daily basis to make a living. So, the thing is we were living for the day. That made me work so hard because I didn’t want to remain in that situation forever.”
Ajowi started his boxing at Dandora Phase 4 under the watchful eye of former Kenya International Michael Stone Irungu.
“No sooner had I met Stone Irungu than I started combining touting and boxing. I used to go to the gym in Dandora to watch training sessions and given the tough nature of my job at Machakos Bus station, I succumbed to the lure of boxing and had the boxing bug,” the Police Officer explained.
In 1997, Ajowi played in the Novices representing his first club Dandora. In 2000, he was already a mature boxer, so he had a go at the National Intermediate Championships.
Given the proximity from Dandora to Bus Station, it became increasingly difficult for Ajowi to pursue his sporting dream at his residence. So, he moved to the cradle of boxing at Dallas Mthurwa in 2000.
He was then called up to join League Champions Chafua Chafua (Police) in 2001. In 2006 he went to Kiganjo to pursue a career in the police service.
This year, Ajowi was promoted to the rank of a Police Corporal. He qualified for the Olympics for the first time and won gold at the Africa Zone 3 Championship in DRC Congo. He was then crowned the LG Sports Personality of March.
“Looks like good things are coming a long later in my career. Winning the gold medal after temporarily moving up to super-heavyweight was awesome. I beat the African Champion from Cameroon and by the time I came home, I won the LG/SJAK Sports Personality of the Month of March so I’m counting my blessings.”
“It was my first time at super heavyweight. My Cameroonian opponent was a huge guy and aggressive. So, to overcome the challenge, I had to evade his punches by keeping him at a distance so I could attack systematically.”
Ajowi further explained why he scaled up to the super heavy weight category.
“When we went to the DRC tournament in DR Congo, I decided to move up to also give my compatriot Wasike a chance at heavy. But during the Olympics I will be back in the heavyweight division. In super heavyweight it’s heavy punches. I had to resort to mental tactics.”
Ring Name: Elly
Date of Birth: 5th October 1983
Current Weight Division: Heavyweight
Previous Club(s): Dandora (1997-2000), Dallas Muthurwa (2004-2006)
Current Club: Kenya Police (2016 to date)
Occupation: Constable at Railways Police
National Team Debut: 2010 Milan AIBA World championship
Club Coach: David Munuhe
Hobbies: Reading books
2019 Goal: Gold Medal in Morocco
1. Commonwealth Boxing Championships in India –SILVER
2. All African Games 2015 –Congo Brazzaville -BRONZE
3. Kenya Open Champion 2010 to 2019
4. Gold Medal Africa Zone 3 Games in DRC (Super Heavyweight)
5. LG/SJAK Sports Personality of the Month of March 2021