by Samson Opiyo
To be part of the elite group you must start from the roots, lay a firm foundation, and then put in the effort to gradually rise against all odds. Patience, endurance, determination, and above all, trusting in God, are key elements in facing a challenge.
|Clinton Okoth ready for his first match at the Olympic Trials
Ndoto Boxing Club is fresh in the game, but it is evident that a solid foundation has been laid. The boxers have taken part in several boxing competitions and the club has recorded victories, receiving positive feedback, proving that there is progress and development in the club.
The big challenge came at the end of June: the National Olympics Boxing Trials, held in the capital city, Nairobi. Those who qualified could represent Kenya in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Due to the numerous boxers around the country, only a select few, who met high standards, were eligible to be part of the trials in Nairobi. Each region could only send a few boxers, totaling 150 boxers nationally, men and women.
To avoid partiality and promote sportsmanship, Ndoto Boxing Club, in conjunction with other clubs in Kisumu, went through a local trial to obtain the number of boxers needed. The selection fights were hosted at the Obunga Sports Complex near our office. Clinton Okoth, who is on our staff as the director of our sports ministry, qualified for the heavyweight category. Eugene Otieno, Calvin Otieno, and Bethwel Otieno also qualified. Calvin is one of Ndoto’s sponsored students, studying IT in college and fighting in the flyweight category. These four young men were prepared to represent Ndoto and Kisumu County in the Olympic trials.
|Calvin Otieno, having just finished his match
The boxers traveled to nearby Siaya for a local competition on June 24th, where all four of our boxers emerged winners and displayed why they were selected to represent Kisumu. They then continued on to Nairobi on the 28th. The next day, after weighing in, the matches began. Eugene, Calvin, and Bethwel fought their quarterfinal matches, but they were defeated by very tough and experienced opponents. Clinton won his first match, and in the semifinals faced an experienced national heavyweight boxer from the Kenya Defense Forces named Fredrick Ramogi, who is rightfully known as “The Beast”.
|Clinton facing Ramogi in the ring
Though they were defeated, our Ndoto boxers are now more motivated than ever because they have seen that it is possible to be a part of the elite boxing group no matter your origin. It was their first attempt in the national trials and they fought against opponents who have been in the game for a long time. This was a learning process and a stepping stone. “We are proud to have Ndoto as our main sponsors in boxing,” Clinton said, “Thanks to Allison and Michael who stood with the team to ensure Kisumu was represented in the boxing trials.”
The team members safely traveled back and have shifted their focus toward the league matches, which will be played in August in a county to the north of us. The Ndoto Boxing Club has also added a junior boxing team, between 12 and 15 years of age, which will also be competing in August. This is a sure sign of a bright future for the Ndoto Sports Community, which still includes the large all-ages soccer ministry and the competitive Ndoto FC, which plays in the county league.
|Clinton with Fredrick “The Beast” Ramogi, who has repeatedly represented Kenyan boxing internationally
Clinton and Michael, our Kenya director and onetime boxer himself, are still seeking donations to enable the team to bring a standard boxing ring to Obunga. This will help them acquire more skills and be as sharp as the opponents they faced, while also raising the stature of the Ndoto Boxing Club. No other local club has an official boxing ring. To contribute, click Donate at the top of the page, and enter Boxing in the designation.