• London bound Gicharu, a punch away from Africa Gold

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May 05, 2012-

Kenya’s hope of a larger representation at the London Olympic games when two of its pugilists were knocked out in their semi final bouts of the International Boxing Association, AIBA African Olympic qualification tournament in Casablanca, Morocco on Friday.

Out of a strong team of 10 only Benson Gicharu, a commonwealth Games Silver medallist in the flyweight will be among the 286 boxers challenging for Olympic honours when the boxing competition begins at the ExCel Exhibition Centre in London.

Heavyweights Daniel Sishia and Charles Okoth both lost their crucial semi final bouts. Gicharu who missed out on a semi-final berth at the 2011 All African Games in Maputo was forced to settle for silver the previous year at the Commonwealth Games in India following his last minute withdrawal after he picked a leg injury.

Then he had been pitted against Asian champion Indian Suranjoy Mayengbam in the fight for Gold. In Casablanca, Gicharu booked his final berth of his flyweight fight with a 17-14 point elimination of Ghanaina Micah Akueteh.

The fast rising Gicharu managed to win the first round by just a point (4-3) before the Ghanaian a quarter finalist at the Commonwealth games forced a 7-7 draw in the following round.

But Gicharu managed apt blows picked him some crucial points in the third round 7-3 and make the final.

The Olympic bound boxer will now challenge for the Gold against Bostwana’s Oteng Oteng. The bout will be a replay of their commonwealth games semis where Gicharu won a thriller 5-4 against the Southern African who made the final after he was awarded the bout against no show Samir Brahimi of Algeria.

Sishia settled for a bronze after a close 11-10 loss to his Ghanaian opponent Maxwell Amposah.

The Kenyan started well leading 5-2 in the first round before Amposah managed to score 4-3 in the following round but the Ghanain managed to score 5 points against Sishia’s 2 for the vital win. Charles Okoth lost 11-9 to Morocco’s Unathi Mohammed (4-3,3-3,4-3) in their Super-heavy weight bout.

North Africa dominates the list of qualifiers with Seven Algerian boxers qualified for London and their team has ensured they have the most representatives from the region just above hosts Morocco.

48 boxers from 30 countries are looking to qualify from the African Olympic qualifiers which began April 28-May 5.


Selected results

Semi finals:

Fly weight: Benson Gicharu (KEN)won 17-14 Micah Akueteh(Ghana)

Super-heavy: Charles Okoth (KEN)lost 11- 9 Morocco’s Unathi Mohammed(MOR)

Heavy weight: Daniel Sishia(KEN) lost 11-10 Maxwell Amposah(GHA)


Qualifying Rounds 16/Quarter finals

Fly weight: Benson Gicharu (KEN) won 10-9 Jason Oliver (MRI)

Super-heavy :Charles Okoth (KEN)won 20-12 Paul Schafer(SA)

Light weight:Denis Okoth(KEN) lost 19-18 Alissop Andrique(SEY)

Heavy weight:Daniel Sishia(KEN) won 19-14 Tagoum Romarick(CMR)



Fly weight:Benson Gicharu (KEN) won 17-7 Crimildo Artur(MOZ)

Light weight: Denis Okoth(KEN) won 16-8 Bezila Ngosa(ZAM)

Light fly: Peter Warui(KEN) Ret 4-4 Mohammed Flissi (ALG)

Heavy:Daniel Sishia(KEN) won 21-9 Tumba Silva(ANG)

Welter:Rayton Okwiri(KEN) lost 12-11 Mehdi Khalsi(MOR)

Light Heavy: Aziz Ali(KEN) lost 12-4  Yahia Mkachiri(TUN)

Light welter:Victor Onyango(KEN)lost 13-10  Brice Bassole

Middle weight:Tobias Okeyo(KEN)lost 18-8 Hassan Chagtemi(TUN)

Bantam weight:Martin Oduor(KEN) lost 19-7 Aboubakr Lbida(MOR)



 Evelyn Watta

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