Acclaimed first Kenyan female Olympic boxer Elizabeth Andiego starts her quest for an appearance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics when she touches gloves against Mozambican Rady Adosinda.
Andiego climbs the ring at a time when the world spotlight is on the sweet science of boxing following yesterday’s masterclass in the boxing ‘Mecca’ of Las Vegas, Nevada where Englishman Tyson Fury delivered an absorbing punishment to brash American Deontay Wilder and claim the WBC heavyweight belt.
The Kayole-based pugilist, who participated in the London 2012 Olympics via a wildcard to become the first female puncher to do so from East Africa, was among six Kenyan fighters to have received byes into the quarter-finals in Senegal and now needs only two wins to guarantee herself a ticket to Japan.
A total of 286 boxers from Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe and America will battle for 13 sets of gold medal in 8 weight categories in Tokyo.
Kenya took a full squad of 13 boxers (eight male and five female) to the African qualifiers in Dakar but so far the Hit Squad team has suffered defeats in two weight categories with lightweight Joseph Shigali and women’s featherweight Beatrice Akoth both losing out in the preliminary round.
Addiego, alongside Elizabeth Akinyi (welterweight), Boniface Mogunde (Welterweight) and light heavyweight Humphrey Ochieng will be seeking to avoid the fate of their compatriots in Dakar, Senegal this evening.
There are 33 places for Africa at the Olympics— 22 men and 11 females. However, for those who will not manage to qualify in their continental events, they will have one final chance to qualify for Olympics in Paris during World qualifiers to be held in May 2020.
On Saturday, team captain Nick Okoth sealed a place in the last eight as he outclassed Cape Verde’s Carlos Willis Semedo. Yesterday, former African Boxing Union (ABU) middleweight champion Rayton Okwiri, Commonwealth bronze medallist Christine Ongare and African Games silver medal winner Shaffi Bakari—were all in action as they fight for slots to Tokyo gathered steam.