Former Africa Boxing Championships lightweight gold medallist Nick Okoth and national bantamweight champion Shaffi Hassan Bakari stormed into the semifinals of the Jamal Cup Championships at Nyayo National Stadium yesterday.
Okoth beat Reagan Odindo of Meru in the third round as Bakari picked points’ victory against Meshack Mbithi of Embu.
Before falling to Okoth, the inexperienced Odindo gave Okoth anxious moments in the first two rounds of the quarterfinal match hosted on Wednesday night.
Although Okoth won the fight on RSC in the third round, it’s evident the Meru boxer also gave his opponent a rough time in the first two rounds.
“This was just part of our training sessions as we prepare for big time fights coming over next year. No match was easy but we are fighting to be selected into the national squads for international championships,” Okoth told Standard Sports.
Okoth intends to feature in the Africa Boxing Championships to be held in Cameroon in January/February 2021 and Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England in July before hanging up his gloves.
Okoth’s win ensured he easily sailed into the semifinals of the lightweight match.
Other lightweight matches saw George Wainaina of Kenya Police beat Dennis Olieh of Kajiado on points, Philip Sabwa of Kibra dismissed Ken Onyango of Busia, Francis Riziki of Kenya Prisons overcome Washington Wandera of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and Castro Omondi of Siaya was beaten by Chris Asicho of Mbaraki.
Robert Gachuhi of Nairobi also sailed into the semifinals after beating Kibra’s Francis Njuguna with the last lightweight match seeing Kisumu’s David Mwau silence John Mwanzia of Githurai 44 Club.
The tournament has attracted a total number of 122 male and 24 female boxers.
Earlier, experienced Victor Odhiambo of KDF picked his ticket to the last four in the light welterweight.