Nairobi’s Charter Hall came alive when 17-year-old Murang’a boxer David Mathu defeated Ethan Maina of Police as the “National Open Boxing Championship” entered its second day.
The explosive and entertaining action was a necessary break from the leadership wrangles engulfing Boxing Association of Kenya (BAK) that has led to yet another “National Open Boxing Championship” in Mombasa.
After several rounds of closely contested bouts, the fans inside the packed Charter Hall were brought to their feet as Mathu and Maina slugged it out in a thrilling lightweight (60kg) contest.
Fleet-footed Mathu from Murang’a County took the sting out of Maina with a series of jabs in the first round. Maina simply couldn’t overcome it.
“The plan was to use my speed and precision to throw jabs at him. It was effective especially after I realized he packed a lot of power. I ensured I got ahead of him with speed,” Mathu said.
The youngster was carried shoulder high by his fans and neutrals awed by his bravery.
“It’s only the beginning because I’m only 17 years, but I harbor an Olympic dream,” said Mathu, who trains with Dallas Boxing Club.
Maina acknowledged Mathu’s performance, saying he benefited from a quickfire start.
“I paid for starting slowly,” Maina said. “By the time I grew into the game, he had outscored me.”
Githurai Thailand Boxing Club coach John Ochieng and Daniel Shisia paid tribute to Mathu
“The bout between Mathu and Ethan was a good advertisement of the abundant talent in our country,” Ochieng said. “I hope sanity will prevail for the sake of boxing in Kenya. Mathu’s performance clearly shows a boxer on the path to greatness, but these wrangles can jeopardize his dream.”
Shisia said: “Mathu has a bright future. Though young, he is cut for boxing. He needs to work on intensity and power and keep the focus.”
The tournament continues today at Charter Hall.
Light Flyweight (49Kg)
Alex Ndungu (Murang’a) beat Francis Gitonga (Laikipia)
Charles Macharia (Murang’a) bt Davis Otieno (Vihiga)
David Karanja (Nairobi) bt Shaffi Bakari (Police)
George Cosby (Police) beat Kennedy Mutwiri (Meru)
Light heavy (81Kg)
Joseph Onyango (Nairobi) bt Calvince Ochieng (Kilifi)
David Njuguna (Police) bt Jesekia Omollo (Kakamega)
Hamza Said (Mombasa) bt David Omollo (Kisumu)
Kennedy Ouma (Siaya) bt Joseph Otieno (Busia)
Benson Kamau (Nairobi) v Reagan Odindo (Meru)
David Mathu (Murang’a) bt Ethan Maina (Police)