Kenya’s stylish lightweight boxer Nick Okoth will be going for gold at the forthcoming 2017 AIBA World Boxing Championships slated to throw off on August 25 in the city of Hamburg, Germany.
Okoth, who has been shaping up at St Teresa’s church gymnasium over the past two weeks, said his main objective will be to demolish the reigning Olympics champion, Brazilian Robson Conceição, and indeed emulate Steve Muchoki’s 39-year-old record which no other Kenyan has managed to achieve.
Muchoki is the only Kenyan to have laid his hands on a gold medal at the AIBA World Championships. He did so at the 1978 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and went on to clinch gold medal at the 1978 Commonwealth Games.
Okoth, who qualified in the recent Congo Brazzaville qualifiers, will team up with Police duo of John Kyalo (middleweight) and Shaffi Bakari (light-fly) in the Kenya team. The national team will be handled by George Munuhe of Police who will be assisted by AIBA Star 3 coach Mike Musine from Mombasa.
“Giving up has never been part of my game plan. Conceição lost the opening match at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and went on to clinch gold in Rio last year before his home crowd,” said Okoth, who turns out for Kenya Defense Forces team.
Like Okoth, who is corporal in the KDF, Conceição did not turn professional, instead signing with the Brazilian Navy to gain the scholarship and training facilities reserved for military sportspeople.
“I have never thought of turning professional because the bare-chested game is not rewarding in terms of monetary value. I wish to stick with amateur ranks and continue to win a lot more,” he said.
And prodded to explain if he has a clue of how the Brazilian fights, Okoth went on: “I have only watched the Brazilian on video clips and feel time is ripe for me to emulate Muchoki. The Brazilian is such an aggressive but stylish boxer. But the game plan will be, to first prevail in preliminary rounds and see where the draws place me,” said Okoth.
Meanwhile, Boxing Association of Kenya Chairman John Kameta has confirmed government funding for the team’s trip to Hamburg. Kameta nevertheless noted that finer details will be known during the week but added that the team will be going to camp soon.
“We will meet in due course to decide on the venue for training and sparring partners prior to the team’s departure. We have met with officials from the ministry and they have assured us that they will finance our trip,” said Kameta.
During the Hamburg extravaganza, the best 280 boxers in world will compete for the one of the most decorated boxing titles in the word across 9 exciting days of boxing action. IOC President Thomas Bach is among the invited guests at the AIBA World Championships in Hamburg.