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Kenyan boxers Benson Njangiru and Charles Okoth made it to the penultimate stage of the International Amateur Boxing Association contest for Olympic qualification in Casablanca, Morocco.
The two pugilists join national heavyweight champion, Daniel Shisia, in the semi final in the Super Heavyweight and flyweight categories.
Okoth got a unanimous three judge point decision having outclassed Schaffer Paul from South Africa to win the men’s Super Heavyweight bout (91kgs plus) 20-12.
Okoth, who has now entered the medal bracket, will fight for a place in the finals against Mohammed Arjaoui from Madagascar tomorrow.
Nganjiru was awarded the win in a close contest taking a 10-9 point decision against Lavigilante Jason from Mauritius in the men’s flyweight 52kg in the quarterfinals. The bout was tough but Nganjiru capitalized on season training and experience to ward off his opponent jabs.
Nganjiru is now stepping up training as he plans to take on Micah Duke from Ghana in the semis that will also be contested tomorrow.
Unlike Nganjiru, Denis Okoth lost with a similar one-point margin to his opponent in a highly volatile contest. Okoth’s attempt to sail to the semi finals were thwarted by Allisop Andrique from Seychelles in the lightweight (60kgs) category after he narrowly lost 19-18 to Andrique.
Aziz Ali was not lucky when he came up against Tunisian Yahia Elmekachari in the light heavy (81kg) contest for the semi finals berth. Ali was beaten easily with the judges giving the Tunisian a 12-4 point victory. Ali lost 3-0 in round one, 6-3 in round two and 3-1 in the last round.
Heavyweight sensation, Shisia, was the first to make it to the semis following his 19-14 win against Cameroonian Tangoum Romarick on Tuesday.
Ali and Denis now join the likes of Rayton Okwiri, Tobias Ayot, Martin Aluoch, Victor Opiyo and Peter Warui who have all fallen on the way side in the campaign to secure the ticket to the London Olympics in July.
Kenya entered a total of ten boxers at the championship that involves 154 boxers from 30 countries across Africa who are contesting for 48 Olympics slots reserved for the continent. Only the winner in each weight category will make it to the London Olympics in July.