Kenyan boxers ready to fight for Commonwealth glory

By Indo Asian News Service | Wednesday, July 16, 2014 | 12:18:08 PM IST (+05:30 GMT) Comment 0 Comment

Nairobi, July 16 (IANS) Having failed to punch their way to Commonwealth glory in the last edition in Delhi, Kenyan boxers are targeting Glasgow Games when they step into the ring under a new scoring system.

Nairobi, July 16 (IANS) Having failed to punch their way to Commonwealth glory in the last edition in Delhi, Kenyan boxers are targeting Glasgow Games when they step into the ring under a new scoring system.

Flyweight Benson Gicharu came closest to being garlanded with the top medal when he lost out to India's Suranjoy Mayengbam in the final bout of their division, with the home fighter receiving rancorous support in Delhi four years ago, reports Xinhua.

"Everybody is ready and eager to compete, it's only that I was affected with minor shoulder and thigh injuries but I'm okay now. We expect to come home with more medals since we have new blood who are all good, including the ladies, and I'm sure what I have achieved they will too," the Kenya Police boxer said ahead of their Tuesday departure for Scotland.

"Every athlete's aim is to win gold and that's what I will be going for, I came close in India and I believe I can do it even better this time round," he added.

The Kenyan boxing team of 11, affectionately known as the "Hit Squad", is aiming at returning home with more than the silver and bronze they won in Delhi.

Featuring the women's competition at the Club Games for the first time, middleweight female boxer; Elizabeth Andiego, who emerged with credit at the London Olympics, tipped to box her way to further prominence.

Delhi 2010 bronze medallist Nick Okoth is also in the line-up that their head coach, Albert Matito, is hoping will thrive under the new "10 point-Must" scoring system introduced by the Association of International Amateur Boxing (AIBA) in January this year that is similar to professional boxing.

The controversial computer scoring system blamed by Kenyan boxers for failing to get a medal at the Olympics was replaced by one where three judges will score the rounds out of 10 before aggregating their tally to decide the winner.

"We have trained the players with real sparring, using our local referees to evaluate them so the team is in good shape and I'm sure we will not miss gold," Matito, who is targeting a return of at least five gold medals, stated.

Kenya Police fighter, Elly Ajowi and Sri Lanka King Lion International Boxing welterweight champion Rayton Okwiri return for their second Commonwealth Games on the bounce.

Okwiri, who will compete in the welterweight category, agreed with his head coach on the scoring formula and will be looking to knock out his tough opponents from Canada and Wales to finish in the medal bracket.

"Preparation has been good since my body is responding well physically and technically, the new scoring system is good because it favours us more since we have endurance and stamina unlike before where the scores was showing and the opponent could monitor on the points," the Kenya Prisons pugilist said.

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