Super heavyweight Elly Ajowi (left) receiving his award from LG’s Marketing Director Maureen Kemunto on April 14, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Africa Zone Three super heavyweight gold medalist Elly Ajowi is the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) Personality March 2021 Award winner.

Ajowi won a 55-Inch Colour Television set on Wednesday following his excellent performance in the Africa Zone Three Boxing Championships in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo last month.

During the competition, Ajowi emerged as the only gold medallist from a squad of 16 boxers who participated in the six-day competition.

The team won a total of 13 medals – one gold, five silver and seven bronze medals.

On his way to the gold medal, Ajowi defeated arch-rival and African super heavyweight champion Maxime Yegnong Njieyo of DRC, on a unanimous points decision in the finals of the super heavyweight bout in Kinshasa.

Njieyo had earlier dismissed Ajowi on a unanimous points decision in the semi-finals of the heavyweight bout during Africa Olympic Qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal in February last year.

After outclassing Njieyo in his home country in Kinshasa, it was a sweet revenge victory to a boxer who had given the Kenyan champion some anxious moments a number of times in international championships.

Super heavyweightAjowi with his trophy on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Coming only several weeks after he (Ajowi) was picked by International Olympic Committee (IOC) to take part in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to his international ratings alongside teammate and national lightweight champion Elizabeth Akinyi, it was all smiles for the Kenya Police pugilist as he was presented his prize by LG Electronics Managing Director Sa Nyoung Kim in the presence of SJAK chairman Chris Mbaisi.

“This is marvellous. I can’t believe it for such a big prize to be awarded to a boxer. It comes for the first time to us and is a morale booster to the rest of the (national) squad in future international championships. Kudos to all those who voted for me,” Ajowi said as he shed tears of joy.

He admitted his win in Kinshasa did not come on a silver platter against an experienced boxer like Njieyo, who is a continental champion.

“It has given us as a team morale to do even better in the Olympics. Therefore it came at the right time and sky is the limit for ‘ The Hit Squad,” Ajowi told The Standard Sports.

On his way to the coveted prize, Ajowi beat three other personalities who included, paralympic Wilson Bii, Rakel Patel of Cricket Kenya and Victor Obiero of Kabaddi.

National Boxing Head Coach Musa Benjamin said Ajowi’s triumph came at the right time ahead of Tokyo Olympics.

“It has just come at the right time when we are preparing for the Olympics and it is a morale booster to the four boxers who have qualified for the big games,” Benjamin told The Standard Sports.

Scotland’s Scott Forrest (in red) fights against Kenya’s Elly Ochola (in blue) during the men’s heavy (91Kg) category preliminary boxing match during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Oxenford Studios venue in Gold Coast on April 6, 2018. [AFP PHOTO/ADRIAN DENNIS]

Others who have qualified for the Olympics are 2015 Africa Boxing Championships gold medallist Nick ‘Commander’ Okoth, national flyweight champion Christine Ongare and national lightweight champion Elizabeth Akinyi.

The tactician said the four boxers are now preparing for two international friendly championships in Netherlands and the Philippines before they head to Japan.

“Together with this prize, the trip to Netherlands and Philippines has given the four boxers some good moments to enjoy their previous achievements as a team in Dakar and Kinshasa before they head to Tokyo,” said Benjamin.

He said normal training will continue for the four boxers.

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