What you need to know:
- Agina, now an Australian citizen, dominated Asif in the 10-round encounter on September 16 enroute to a unanimous points victory to win Australia super-flyweight title
- Agina’s super-flyweight fight against Shigematsu on Saturday will start at 9pm Melbourne time (1pm Kenyan time)
- Agina was among African athletes who absconded from their teams during the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast
Kenyan-Australian Brian Agina’s morale is sky-high ahead of his fourth professional fight in Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday.
Buoyed by his immaculate show in winning his last fight against previously unbeaten Pakistan’s Syed Asif, the 24-year-old will take on Japan’s Itaru Shigematsu in a six-round bout he says is part of his preparations for bigger fights ahead.
Agina, now an Australian citizen, dominated Asif in the 10-round encounter on September 16 enroute to a unanimous points victory to win Australia super-flyweight title.
Asif made two trips to the canvas in the first and 10th rounds, courtesy of Agina’s powerful right punch.
The victory not only ended Asif’s seven-bout unbeaten run but it was also sweet revenge for Agina having lost on points to the Pakistani boxer at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
“I’m currently feeling good since my last fight, I’ve gained plenty of fans in Australia including Kenyans based here,” Agina told Nation Sport.
“I feel at home, people like what I’m doing and share their love with me. I’m grateful for that.”
Agina’s super-flyweight fight against Shigematsu on Saturday will start at 9pm Melbourne time (1pm Kenyan time).
On Friday, Agina feasted on a goat curry dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant in Melbourne after weighing-in at 52.15 kilogrammes with his opponent at 52.10. So, did Agina (3-0-0, 1KO) preparing for the fight against Shigematsu (1-2-0, 1KO)?
“I train thrice or twice a day while I am working in my mechanic job. I start training early in the morning and then break for lunch after which I work and then go back to train for one hour. I’m combining both my work and training,” he said recently.
“I can’t comment much about my opponent, he’s not in my mind because I know I’m a winner.
Impressed by progress
Agina’s manager Ricky Leonard is very impressed by his progress so far.
“He’ll be out to make a statement this time around, Brian has been working extensively with his strength and conditioning coach Rooster Roe from 24/7 Fitness Gym in Warrnambool and the results are very exciting,” says Leonard, a former state kickboxing champion.
“Brian has really started to hurt sparring partners and we have had a couple of top boxers now scared of him because of his natural strength and power.
“He has started to sit down on his punches and if sparring is anything to go by then this Japanese opponent is in for a scary night.
“There’s been a heap of interest in Agina by promoters in the Pacific who are looking to line him up for fights in 2024. One of those promoters is Sam Abdulrahim who is slated to fight for a world title himself in late February.
“Sam is an exciting 7-0 professional cruiserweight out of Melbourne, Victoria, who has supported Brian through 2023 in his journey to the top.
“Sam and Brian look to sell out a huge show in early 2024 against exciting international opponents.”
Agina was among African athletes who absconded from their teams during the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.
His Mombasa-based Kenyan coach Paul “Swagga” Mathenge says life was not a bed of roses for Agina who was living with his grandmother at Kaa Chonjo slums near Tudor in Mombasa.
“Brian was also unhappy with boxing officiating in Kenya, that’s why when he was approached by an Australian promoter in Gold Coast he couldn’t turn down the golden opportunity,” says Mathenge whose son, Black Moses Mathenge, is a former international boxer and now a soldier with KDF.
Agina’s manager Leonard says the Kenyan has settled down in Victoria State, and is very much at home though he misses his family in Kenya’s port city of Mombasa. Besides boxing, Agina is also working as a mechanic.
“Brian has already completed his apprenticeship as a mechanic and works for Clinton Baulch Motor Group in Victoria,” says Leonard. Leonard explains his major role is managing the ambitious Kenyan boxer. “My role is simply his manager. I am just looking out for him to make sure he is safe and being looked after. My background is in kickboxing and I was the state champion here in Victoria as a super middleweight.
“Through my career, I built up great networks and I am just trying to ensure that Brian is being treated well and gets access to the right fights. His trainer Chris Folimas and I work hand-in-hand to get these outcomes.”
Asked where exactly is Agina based currently in Australia, Leonard responded:
“He’s in Warrnambool, Victoria, a beautiful seaside town three hours South West of Melbourne.
“The area is a regional city that has a population of just under 40,000 people with its major industries being agriculture, energy and healthcare.”
Leonard says what has impressed Agina most are the training facilities at Folimas Fitness Gym where he trains under the watchful eyes of head coach Chris Folimas.
“The facilities here are absolutely amazing in comparison to what Brian had back home,” says Leonard, but is quick to point out that facilities are not everything in boxing.
“Facilities don’t make a fighter, the culture and dedication of a gym do. The facilities and culture at Folimas gym are first class comprising of multiple rings, bag sections as well as a full strength and conditioning zone.
“In addition to the gym facilities, we also use the beach a lot for recovery and cardio sessions. The cold southern ocean water helps with recovery whilst the sand dunes and beach steps provide a great location for cardio and sprints.”