David Karanja and Teresia Wanjiru put in a brilliant performance to win Kenya’s first two gold medals at the ongoing Africa Zone Three Boxing Championships at Studio Maman Angebi Hall in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Friday night.
Flyweight Karanja and light-welterweight Wanjiru are now the new zonal continental champions in their respective categories.
That was not enough as national middleweight champion Elizabeth ‘Jaber’ Akinyi and light welterweight Victor Odhiambo raked in two silver medals to extend Kenya’s medal tally to five in the week-long tournament.
The initial victory by flyweight Karanja opened doors for his compatriot Teresia Wanjiru to win a second gold medal on the penultimate day of the continental event.
So far, Kenya has two gold, two silver and one bronze medals as a number of their boxers were still expected to take to the ring last night.
Karanja achieved the feat after he defeated Bakora Kalonga of DRC 3-2 points in a closely contested bout.
Karanja, who fought with a cut above his right eye, was cautious with his jabs and was always accurate and on target but also received powerful jabs.
“Since I had been warned by the doctor that he would stop the fight if at all the cut opened, I avoided close contact with my opponent until the end of the bout,” Karanja told Standard Sports from Kinshasa.
Wanjiru outpointed Raissa Djofa of DRC in a light welterweight (63.4kg) match.
On his part, Odhiambo (Victor) lost in the light welterweight finals against three-time Olympian and 2011 African Games gold medalist Louis Collins of Mauritius on a unanimous points decision.
In the female’s middleweight, Elizabeth Akinyi lost to Kyangebeveni Mave of DRC on unanimous points’ decision.
“It was tough but we did our best as advised by our coaches and this is why we managed to reach the medal bracket,” said Akinyi..
Super heavyweight gold medallist in the last games Elly Ajowi ended up with a bronze medal after losing to Umaga Bokala of DRC in the semi-finals.
Six more Kenyan boxers were expected in the finals last night in their respective categories.
They were lightweight Stacy Ayoma, light flyweight Christine Ongare, light middleweight Lorna Kusa, welterweight Everlyn Akinyi, bantamweight Shaffi Bakari and featherweight Samuel Njau.