Okwiri out-points Russian to make round of 32

Kenyan ‘Hit Squad’ boxer, Rayton Okwiri Nduku advanced to the Round of 32 of the men’s welterweight 69kg division at the Rio 2016 Olympics on Sunday by beating Russia’s Andrei Zamkovoi 2-1 on points.

Two judges gave Okwiri the fight 29-28 after three closely contested rounds with the third scoring 28-29 to the Russian to hand the Kenyan the narrow victory.

The two judges scored the rounds 9-10, 10-9, 10-9 with the third giving 9-10, 9-10, 10-9 as the Kenyan edged his Russian opponent who was among the 11 boxers from the country cleared to compete in Rio 2016.

Kenya Prisons officer Okwiri who won bronze at the 2011 All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique hailed the massive support he received from the largely Brazilian crowd who shouted “Kenya! Kenya!” while booing the few Russian chanting supporters.

“We were prepared for the 9,000-seat arena and we had a good game plan with the coaches and everything went as well as we had prepared.

“Having the crowd on my side helped me a lot because when I punched I could hear them shouting so I gained a lot of confidence,” the 30 year-old told SuperSport.

Okwiri confirmed his place for the Summer Games in March during the Africa Olympic Qualifiers in Yaoundé, Cameroon where he defeated Azumah Mohameed of Ghana 3-0 to clinch gold in.

Benson Gicharu and Kenya Police constable Peter Mungai are the other Kenyan boxers in Rio.

Mungai will start campaign on Monday when he takes on China’s LV Bin while Gicharu will trade punches with Erdenebat Tsendbaatar from Mongolia on Wednesday.