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Kenyans blast Japanese ref for early stoppage

A section of Kenyans, officials of national boxing team and boxer Friza Anyango (pictured) have blasted Japanese referee, Riichi Igarashi for what they feel was a rushed decision to stop the welterweight bout in favour of Algeria’s celebrated boxer, Imane Khelif in the ongoing Women’s World Boxing Championships in New Delhi, India.

The referee stopped the fight at two minutes, 31 seconds of the first round to the surprise of Anyango and her coach, Musa Benjamin.

“I’m actually so heartbroken and disappointed, I don’t know what happened because I was not knocked down it’s so unfair,” said a disappointed Anyango.

Head coach Musa Benjamin was equally disappointed at what he felt was unwarranted stoppage of the fight.

“I complained to the technical delegate he agreed with me but it ends there, it’s very demoralizing to the boxer, it’s as if the ref officiated in recognition of the reputation of the boxer,” said Musa.

Kenyans on social media said much as the Algerian was the favourite they would have wanted her to win clean and not through a shortcut made possible by the referee’s abrupt stoppage of the fight when the Kenyan was still fresh to fight on.

Anyango was making her international debut against the experienced Algerian who won a silver medal in last year’s world championships in Turkey.

The one million dollar question remains: was Anyango capable of defeating the smart Algerian boxer if the fight lasted the full course?

Kenya entered 11 boxers in the Women’s Worlds. So far seven have been eliminated. Those yet to fight are Veronica Mbithe, Lorna Kusa and captain Liz Andiego..

Credit: AFBC Communications

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