Against the Odds
Fighting for survival
Boxing is a sport that engages two people throwing punches with gloved hands in a contest of strength and speed. It is allotted into two categories namely, Amateur and Professional boxing. Albeit being the same sport, some elements distinguish the two. For instance, in professional boxing, fighters do not wear head gears during a match but in amateur boxing fighters do. Also, in professional boxing, there are no set rules in regard to the size of the ring while in amateur boxing the ring must have a ring with a minimum size of 10x16 feet and a maximum of 20x20 feet.
In Kenya, the sport has been accosted by enormous setbacks with it not being in the limelight for eons. The hoodoo can be as a result of poor management, lack of facilities or even lack of an organization which can sponsor the talents in boxing.
Despite this distinct anomaly, individuals and groups have taken the initiative to nurture and enhance the sport with the little or vast experience they possess in the sport.
An epitome of this is Caleb Amianda, a well built and lenient man with noble traits and a resident of Huruma, Kiamaiko area in the outskirts of Nairobi city. Amianda is a professional boxer, welter weight category weighing 67kg and also a family man – with a wife, two children and a grandchild – and a bouncer at Carnivore restaurant.
His history in boxing records back to when he was a youth and he was motivated to indulge in the sport because boxing was practiced in the community he came from.
“My community and precisely my family line loved the sport and I was encourage to take it as a profession” Amianda asserts
In 1980s, he got a call up to play for the MAB boxing club, an amateur boxing club and from there he has been sharpening his edges in boxing as the clocks tiks each and every second.
With many years in the world of boxing, Amianda has achieved substantive virtues in life. Virtues such as discipline, generosity and patience, which are the faces of boxing, have enabled him to cope up with life positively. He also reveals to the grassroots that the sport has in a great scope helped him counter the vices affiliated with our contemporary society such as crime, idleness, the scourge of alcoholism and drug abuse.
However, with the current status of the sport, Amianda has encountered several hurdles in his career and the utmost challenge is the lack or promoters or sponsors. These are basically individuals, companies and organizations whose role is to plan and arrange matches for the boxers.
Amianda in a training session
In relation to the current situation in the boxing world, in Kenya, some clubs have also been initiated to promote the sport and gear on placing it back on its previous stand. One of these clubs is Ngei one boxing club situated in Huruma, Ngei one area in the outskirts of Nairobi city. The coach, Stephen Makoha clearly notes that the main purpose of the club is to eliminate idleness among the youth within the area and to nurture the talent in this sport.
However, evident challenges along the way have made their success counterproductive. The problems entail lack of promoters or sponsors and lack of facilities such as gloves, training and match ring, attire and head gears. Consequently, as a solution, coach Makoha, has embarked on a role of motivating the players and inform them on the reality of the sport and educate them on the principles and values of the sport.
Nevertheless, the club has achieved great success as some of their fighters have been incorporated in the discipline forces in our country and are also provided them with a platform to practice amateur boxing.
Therefore, as seconds are converted to minutes, minutes to hours, hours to days, days to weeks, weeks to months and months to years, the questions lingering on the minds of many is whether the new government under the ministry of sports will hark back boxing to the lime light and whether the immense talent in the sport will be nurtured appropriately.
By George Munene
Event of the week