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THREE top Kenyan boxers want the Kenya Professional Boxing Commission and Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) to lift the game’s standards in the country to ensure pugilists are recognised and nominated for the Safaricom's Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA).
The three boxers — Congestina Achieng, David Kiilu and Raymond Ochieng — think part of the reason why they are not considered for the sports gala is because of the dwindling boxing standards in the country.

They said poor management and lack of foresight had contributed immensely to the poor results in their spheres.

Congestina, who was a beneficiary of SOYA awards in 2005 when she finished runner-up to the marathon queen Catherine Ndereba, said the awards had grown in stature and everyone would like to be part of them.

“These awards symbolize sports excellence in the country and when your fraternity is not being mentioned then you have a reason to really scratch your head and re-focus,” she said.
Congestina, a former women’s International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion fought early this year in Germany but failed to impress amid murmurs of bias officiating.

Lately, Congestina has opted for non-title fights for the sake of survival. She said getting title fights is not easy as most promoters are not honest when it comes to negotiating purses.
David Kiilu who early this year won the World Boxing Commission (WBC) bantamweight title in Poland has been unable to defend the title due to lack of promoters. He said things need to be straightened up in the spheres if they are to share in national limelight.

Achieng said she didn’t know what was happening and the boxing fraternity was being run ad hoc. “We need to re-organise ourselves if we are to measure up to other sports.  It is a pity that boxers have been reduced to mere paupers. “With good organisation, I believe we have the talent and can go places just like other boxing super powers,” she noted.

Suleiman Bilali, who was one of the country’s top amateur boxers in the country, is the latest to join the paid ranks but he is yet to make an impact. He lost his debut fight to George Owenge and has since kept a low profile. ABA leaders have admitted that there is need to revamp boxing in the country if is to regain its lost glory.

The Soya Gala night is due to be held on December 11 at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.

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