On Wednesday morning, SportPesa officially unveiled the opening of the Umoja Boxing Gym after they helped with the construction of a new roof.
The upgrade that cost KShs 1.2million enabled permanent installation of its boxing ring, thus giving amateur boxers access to train round the clock.
SportPesa’s support is in addition to a donation of boxing kits facilitating upcoming fighters to train comfortably.
The event was graced by the SportPesa CEO Captain Ronald Karauri, former WBC Super bantamweight champion Fatuma Zarika, area Member of Parliament George Theuri and officials from the Kenya Boxing Federation.
Captain Karauri was taken on a tour by the locals who gave him a warm reception and gifted him a hand-made art carving for his generosity in choosing to help their community.
“I am truly so happy to be here today. Just listening to the stories of the boxers has really moved me.
“I’ve also grown up with sports in my heart and this is something that I know will benefit the people of this community,” Captain Karauri stated.
“The discipline that people get from sports is unmatched and I am happy to be a part of it and I still believe that sports can change this country.
“Our goal has been to create hope and change the sports in this country. Zarika is a prime example of this and I am very proud of her and the heights she has reached in world boxing,” he added.
The Umoja Boxing Gym was started in 2002 as a makeshift structure by amateur boxers in the estate and was later upgraded, with the help of local elected leaders and Boxing Federation of Kenya chairman Anthony Ombok.
They changed it into a gym that comprised of a cemented training area and basic equipment but lacked a roof.
“We have had to assemble and disassemble the ring due to lack of the roof to preserve it from the vagaries of weather.
“We sought support in various corners to put in place a roof, so the ring can be permanent and we are very excited that SportPesa agreed to assist us,” said Mike Mungai, one of the founding members of the community boxing gym.
At any one time up to 30 amateur boxers train at the gym. Over the years it has trained over 100 boxers some of who have moved to professional boxing including George Onyango – who fights in the light weight category.
Onyango is remembered for defeating Fred Nyakesa during the September 2018’s Nairobi Fight Night which was sponsored and staged by SportPesa.
“As a boxer we are where we are because of such community gyms. We appreciate when we
get the support to uplift our training facilities,” said Zarika as she encouraged the amateurboxers.