DR Congo and Kenyan boxers got off to a good start, South Africa cried foul as Uganda made heavy weather to excel in the Africa Championships which started on Sunday, July 30, at the Yaounde Sports Complex.
Defending champion Peter Kabeji Pita and his DRC compatriot Mbiya Kulenguka’s won their opening bouts; so did Kenyans Iight-middleweight Boniface Mogunde and light-heavyweight Robert Okaka.
Kabeji was in the driver’s seat, dominating Burundi’s Ebenezer Zoungrana in this light-heavyweight bout won by the DRC boxer on a unanimous decision with Kulenguka’s victory over South Africa’s bronze medallist in Maputo last year, Simnikiwe Bongco, questioned by coach Happy Mlandeli Mngqibisa.
The bout was stopped in the first round because the ring developed a gaping hole. The judges gave the fight to Kulenguka owing to the fact that he was leading on points when the fight was stopped.
However, South Africa’s coach disagreed with the decision to award the victory to the DR Congo boxer.
“We’re shocked at the decision to declare DRC boxer the winner, it would have been fair to stop the fight and then have the two boxers continue after the ring has been repaired,” said Mlandeli.
“The problem with the ring was not the mistake of either of the two boxers, the organisers should blame themselves.”
Tears flowing down his cheeks as his teammates comforted him, Bongco covered his face with his towel in disappointment.Maputo silver medallist Merven Clair () outpointed Bouzine Jovanie of the Seychelles and said this time around he’s well prepared for Morocco’s defending light-middleweight champion Hamza El Barbari.
Uganda had a miserable start with all their boxers losing their fights.
First it was newcomer Khassim Mulungi who was outpointed by defending featherweight champion Armando Sigauque of Mozambique but Ugandan coach Mayanja Twaib was not satisfied by the decision.
“My boxer deserved to win this fight l’m surprised he lost,” said Twaib.
The battle for bragging rights in East Africa started in Kenya’s favour with light-heavyweight Robert Okaka in a ferocious mood against 66Ugandan rookie Idirisa Mukiibi.
Charging at his seemingly subdued opponent as if they had a land dispute to settle, Okaka subjected the Ugandan to two standing counts, and when Mukiibi visited the canvas, courtesy of Okaka’s vicious right punch the referee waved it off to save Mukiibi from unnecessary punishment from his neighbour.
Earlier, light-middleweight Boniface Mogunde, a bronze medallist in Maputo, was given a fright by a game Nestor Nduwarugira of Burundi but the more experienced Kenyan carried the day.
Two sessions are programmed for today, July 31, one from 1pm local time and the second one at 6pm.
Owing to a delay in yesterday’s programme, the second session which could not be held due to time factor will now be staged today.