Africa Boxing Union middleweight champion Rayton Okwiri has been stripped of the belt after his inclusion on the Kenya national boxing team that heads to the African Olympic qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal, next week.
Okwiri is in the 13-man squad, as announced by Hit Squad’s head coach Musa Benjamin. The team departed for the West African nation this morning.
Okwiri was stripped of the title as he went against World Boxing Council regulations that bar professional boxers from competing in amateur contests.
Kenya Professional Boxing Commission (KPBC) secretary-general Franklin Imbenzi confirmed the decision that was made by ABU boss Houcin Houchi of Tunisia, which said Okwiri flouted the rules.
“We tried our level best to defend him (Okwiri) at the ABU executive committee but it was difficult,” Imbenzi said.
Okwiri defended the title after he dismissed South Africa-based Augustine Matata of the Democratic Republic of Congo at Charter Hall in Nairobi last year.
He made the move after he was approved by ABU to take part in World Boxing Council Championships. “It is a big loss to our federation but there is nothing we can do,” he said.
Okwiri said he had no regrets in joining Hit Squad and was optimistic of qualifying to 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I will make a comeback to professional boxing after the Olympics. No one will dictate me on what to do,” Okwiri said.
He said there are many bodies that his agent would work with in order for him to be re-admitted. They include World Boxing Association, World Boxing Federation, International Boxing Federation, International Boxing Organisation and World Boxing Organisation.