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Perfect start for Tanzanian boxer at Olympic qualifier

NATIONAL boxing team Captain, Alex Isendi made a perfect start at the 2020 African Olympic Qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal after defeating Mahamed Almasori from Libya.

Isendi won the lightweight 57-63 kilogramme by unanimous decision from the five judges in the fight staged at Dakar International Expo Center, Diamniadio on Friday night.

He has progressed to quarterfinals to meet Jonas Jonas from Namibia on Monday. Isendi’s win is a step towards the qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games from July 24th to August 9th this year.

In a red corner, Isendi matched first into the ring accompanied by his Coach David Yombayomba and team leader Mwere Chegere and he looked confident and determined to win the fight.

He quickly launched flurry of punches that landed on the face of his opponent, giving the Libya fight hard time in the opening round.

Almasori fired back at the close of the first round, with few punches hitting the Tanzanian but that did not convince the five judges, as all voted 10 points in favor of Isindi, while his opponents scored nine points from each judge.

Knowing he had registered an advantage over his opponent in the first round, Isendi returned stronger with much more aggression in the second round.

He was clearly looking for a knockout punch to end the fight but his opponent kept on protecting his head, while taking steps back.

Again, the second round was all in favor of Isendi, as four judges voted 10 in his favor with one judge giving him nine points, while his opponent was awarded nine points by four judges as one have him ten points.

Isendi maintained his speed in the third and last round as he fired heavy punched on his opponent’s face, as Libyan boxer faded.

At the end of the final round, Isendi unanimously won the fight.

Two other Tanzanian boxers were set to be in action late yesterday, with Boniface Mlingwa taking on Pedro Gomes from Angola in a featherweight (52-57kg) preliminary round battle and Haruna Mhando from Tanzania will fight Kutsuke Anani from Ghana in a su per heavyweight (+91kg) in another preliminary round fight.

Tomorrow, another Tanzanian boxer, Yusuph Changarawe will fight against Mauricio Martins from Guinea Bissau in a preliminary round Light heavyweight (75- 81kg).

There are 33 places at the Tokyo Olympics available in Dakar, whereas 22 chances are for men and 11 are for women. Any boxer who reaches the final is guaranteed an Olympic place.

In addition, in six male weight categories (flyweight to light-heavyweight) as well as one female division (flyweight) there will be a third qualification spot available.

This will be decided by a boxoff between the two losing semi-finalists. There will be one more chance to qualify for Tokyo 2020 at the final world qualifying event in Paris in May

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Author: ELKANA KUHENGA

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