The second day of the third leg of the SportPesa National Boxing League (SNBL), Friday, lived to the billing at the Ananas Mall in Thika, with top contenders in the various weight categories across the 17 bouts earning slots in the ultimate stage, key among them arch rivals Elly Ajowi and Nick Abaka.
Saturday, the final day of the leg, will see Ajowi and Abaka face off in the Light Heavy Weight category (81kgs) for the third time in the season and this time Abaka, of Kenya Defence Forces will be hoping to floor his Police counterpart, having fallen in both the opening legs – Kisumu in the final and Nanyuki in the semis.
Abaka was the first to book his place after flooring Joseph Odhiambo of Nairobi in the 36th bout of the leg and second of the day and the anticipated final was set up when Ajowi brushed aside Ken Ogutu of Thika in the 14th bout.
Another final fans had hoped to see was the one pitting Olympian Benson Gicharu of Police against KDF’s Isaac Meja in the Bantam Weight category but while Gicharu saw off Simon Kinuthia of the Omar Kasongo Sports Academy (OKSA), Meja shockingly fell to Brian Agina of Coast in the last semi final.
Meja’s fall was the only setback for KDF while their rivals Police saw all their members except Shaffi Bakari sail through, as Matayo Keya of KNH (Light Flyweight), Charles Macharia of Dallas (Fly Weight), Stanley Ogutu of Kentrack (Light Weight), Patrick Owino of Kentrack (Light Welterweight) also booked tickets for their specific finals.
While the day was dominated by Police and KDF, Kentrack proved a third force and could play determinant to who bags the bragging rights from the third leg.
Heading to the final day, KDF and Police will each be looking to emerge tops for the second time in the season – KDF won the Kisumu leg in March before Police clinched the Nanyuki leg in April.