Kenyan boxer says match-fixing makes it hard to win against Western opponents
22 April 2016, 15:19
Nairobi (Xinhua) -- A former Kenyan international has said it is difficult for foreigner boxers to win against their opponents from the West on home soil due to biased officiating.
Njoka Ngandu told Xinhua in Nairobi that ring officials would declare non-Western boxers, predominantly African opponents, losers without batting an eyelid however glaring the discrepancy would appear.
"It is hard to win against boxers from the West on their home soil. Those foreign fighters who win their bouts apply the knock-out technique against their opponents for obvious reasons," he said on Thursday.
"I was once a victim of the Russians' dirty tricks when at 72kg, I was paired against a boxer who weighed 82kg," Ngandu revealed.
He said many Kenyan boxers have complained about the prejudice and usually have horrid tales to narrate when they arrive back home from overseas assignments.
Ngandu' s first time to step in the ring was in 1998 as a Novice in the lightweight category, although he did not achieve much in his debut outing.
The following year in 1989, he upped the ante and won the Novice title in the light welterweight category.
His career progressed steadily and he was called to the national team in 1991 where he joined as a welterweight and earned his first bout outside Kenya during the Brunner Urafika Cup against Uganda in Kampala and lost his match.
Ngandu says he suffered immensely from intransigent Kenyan boxing officials for championing for the welfare of boxers and for also questioning the misdeeds within boxing circles.
"For my efforts, I was dropped several times from the national team on flimsy grounds because the stubborn officials brooked no challenge to their high-handedness," he said.
"In 1992, I was supposed to travel with the national team to Denmark but was puzzlingly dropped on the day of travel," he cites as an example of the obstinacy of the officials.
"Between 1992 and 1997, I was not given a place in the national team, even though I was one of the best boxers during that period. That is when I said enough was enough and joined the paid ranks in 1998," he disclosed.
After he became too big for the regional professional bouts, Ngandu spread his wings to Europe where he had a series of bouts in Hungary, Russia, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark among other countries where he registered mixed results.
He says the standards of boxing in Kenya have gone down following the demise of competition occasioned by the winding up of several community and institutional clubs; a scenario that he says has left competition between clubs from the disciplined forces only.
"During my time, one would go through about seven boxers before being declared a champion or admitted into the national team. Nowadays it is not uncommon for a boxer to play two bouts and is declared the best," he said