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Nigeria's Patricia Mbata (left) in a previous fight. She was the most impressive among three female African losers in the quarter-finals on Monday, March 11, in the World Olympic Qualifiers in Italy

Boxing

Miserable end of the road: All 68 African boxers fail to qualify for the Olympics in Italy

Africa’s Paris Olympics campaign ended on a sour note with all the 68 boxers failing to earn one of the 49 available slots in the 1st World Olympic Qualification tournament which ends today in Busto-Arsizio, Italy.

The three female African boxers in action today (March 11) lost their fights.

Tunisia’s bantamweight Islem Ferchichi was the first casualty, beaten fair and square by Vietnam’s Vo Thi Kim Anh who dominated the three rounds for a convincing unanimous points victory.

Much was expected from Cape Verde’s Africa welterweight champion Ivanusa Moreira against Italy’s 2019 world silver medallist Angela Carini but the Italian remained in the driver’s seat winning each of the three rounds 10:9 for a 30:27 victory.

Nigeria’s Africa silver medallist Patricia Mbata was the most impressive among the three African boxers.

After losing the first round 10:9 points, Mbata rallied back strongly in the second round which she won 10:8 to lead 19-18 because of a point deducted from a warning on Polish 2014 Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Elzbieta Wojcik who bounced back to take the third round 10-9 to tie the scores at 28-28 points. In such a tie, the five judges decide the winner between the two boxers. With Wojcik winning two rounds, the pendulum tilted in her favour and was declared 5-0 winner.

Mbatia’s defeat marked a miserable end of the road to Paris for the 68 African boxers who took part in the Italy qualifiers. None of them qualified for the Paris Olympics.

All is not lost however for the African boxers. They still have another chance to try their luck in the 2nd World Olympic Qualifiers scheduled for Bangkok, Thailand, from May 23 to June 3. With most of the top boxers booking their Paris tickets in the continental and the Italy qualifiers, the Thailand qualifiers will be less competitive, giving the African boxers a leeway of making it to Paris.

So far, Africa has 18 boxers who’ve booked their Paris tickets after the Africa Olympic qualifiers last year in Dakar, Senegal.

Algeria leads with five qualifiers followed by Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria with three each. Tunisia, Zambia, Mozambie and DR Congo have one each.

East Africa is anchored at the bottom without a single qualifier.

Biased decisions have been cited in the Italy qualifiers against some of the African boxers such as Angola’s Pedros Gomes who dropped a dubious 3-2 decision to China’s Ping Lyu and Tanzania’s Yusuf Changalawe whose suspicious 3-2 defeat to 4-time Norwegian champion Mindaugas Gedminas raised eyebrows among some African officials.

Credit: AFBC Communications

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