Kenya female boxers in India for world event

Christine Ongare

Kenya's Christine Ongare (left) throws a punch to Canda's Priyanka Dhillon during their minimum-weight bout at the NEC Boxing Court on August 3, 2022.

Photo credit: Pool | NOC-K

What you need to know:

  • Musa said he can't judge their performance without putting them against the best.
  • "It will be baptism by fire for newcomers, that is where they will get to learn the ropes," said Musa.

Newbies Veronica Mbithe, Friza Anyango and Pauline Chege all from Kenya Defence Forces have promised memorable shows at the IBA Women's World Boxing Championship starting Thursday in New Delhi, India.

The Senior Privates were part of 11 boxers who left the country Tuesday night for the global championship to be held at the 6000-seat K.D. Jadhav Indoor Hall.

The Kenyan boxers form part of the more than 300 athletes from 65 countries that will compete in the event that has seen eight withdrawals protesting the inclusion of Russian and Belarusian boxers in the event.

They are the United States of America, Ireland, Britain, Sweden, Canada, Czech Republic, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

IBA decided to allow boxers from Russia and Belarus to compete with national flags and anthems, despite the war in Ukraine and against IOC guidance last November.

Nevertheless, it's a dream come true for the Kenyans soldiers, who said it's a great opportunity and a training ground for them ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics Games Africa qualifiers.

Mbithe, a product of Dallas Boxing Club in Muthurwa, said her journey to boxing stardom has just started in earnest.

“It feels great when the whole country is looking up to you to represent you well...this is something I have been dreaming about for eight years now,” said Mbithe, a flyweight pugilist.

“I am not just going there to fill in the numbers but pound my way to the medal, God willing. I have been walking, sleeping, dreaming and eating medals,” explained Mbithe, who embraced the game in 2014 so as to wade off bullies.

“Growing up in Land Mawe, Nairobi wasn’t easy and one had to be smart to survive. I took up boxing not only because it was interesting but for self defence too,” said Mbithe, whose dream is to become an Olympian.

Mbithe missed out on the 2018 Commonwealth Games after she got recruited at KDF.

The 22-year-old Anyango, who grew up and learnt the trade in Nairobi's Githurai, feels out of the world donning the national colours for the first time.

“I know it's like being thrown at the deep end of the swimming pool with little skills but you have to navigate yourself out,” said welterweight Anyango.

Anyango, who joined the disciplined forces in 2021, said she has been working on her defence and footwork ahead of the global event where 12 titles will be at stake.

Chege, 24, said she is in her best shape ever and ready to rumble in New Delhi.

"The training has been intense. I am at my peak and hope for the best," said Chege, the featherweight boxer, who grew up in the sprawling Mathare slums and later Kayole Estate in Nairobi.

The team handled by Benjamin Musa is captained by light heavyweight Elizabeth Andiego, who is making her fourth appearance at the global competition.

Besides Andeigo, who reached the quarterfinals during the previous event held last year in Turkey, Christine Ongare, Elizabeth Akinyi, Teresia Wanjiru and Lorna Kusa failed to go past their preliminary round bouts.

"What has amazed me this time around are their resilience and willingness to do better. I had the train with men to harden them for the event,"said Musa, adding that they won't be looking at medals as such but improved performance from the previous outing.

Musa said he can't judge their performance without putting them against the best.

"It will be baptism by fire for newcomers, that is where they will get to learn the ropes," said Musa.


Christine Ongare (minimum weight)

Ann Wanjiru (light flyweight)   

Veronica Mbithe (Flyweight)

Amina Martha (Bantamweight)

Pauline Chege (Featherweight)

Stacy Ayoma (Lightweight)

Teresia Wanjiru (light welterweight)

Friza Anyango (welterweight)

Lorna Kusa (light middleweight)

Elizabeth Akinyi (middleweight)

Elizabeth Andiego (Captain- light heavyweight)

Cecilia Wairimu (Team Manageress)

Musa Benjamin, David Munuhe, John Waweru (Coaches)

Sospeter Kinuthia (Physio)

Anthony "Jamal"Ombok (Head of Delegation)


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