Tanzania’s showman Karim “Mtukazi” Mandonga is the magnet that pulled in the massive turnout in Saturday’s 10-bout professional boxing card at the KICC Tsavo Ballroom.
The huge turnout brought back memories of 1987 when a similar crowd watched Kenya’s Hit Squad win eight gold medals in the boxing finals of the African Games and the first post-independence professional boxing contest on July 2, 1983 when Kenya’s Napunyi Oduori KO’d Tanzania’s Onesmo Ngowi in the third round of the main fight to win the East African featherweight title.
Both events took place at the same venue.
Kenya Professional Boxing Commission (KPBC) President Reuben Ndolo and Secretary-General Franklin Imbenzi were over the moon. Their move to invite Mandonga was a gem. Promoter Mike Odongo of Solid Rock Promotions was equally elated by the huge turnout at KICC.
“I will meet with my team to review the whole show and way forward but Mandonga will definitely be back,” said Odongo.
“We will bring Mandonga to Kenya again, he’s a good marketer,” said Ndolo.
Mandonga defeated Kenya’s Daniel Wanyonyi who refused to answer the bell for the sixth round in this super middleweight bout. Not that Wanyonyi received a thorough beating from the Tanzanian but he looked unfit and ill-prepared for the fight which was transmitted live through KPBC’s online Ndondi TV.
“This is our new project we’re proud of the big leap forward we now have our own online TV, we will be showing all our fights through Ndondi TV,” said Imbenzi.
The fight itself lacked the expected fireworks with Wanyonyi holding his own in the opening two rounds but from there it was Mandonga carrying the fight to the Kenyan.
His punches were however not strong enough to KO Wanyonyi who was at times forced to bury his face under both gloves for safety as Mtukazi attacked in waves.
Soon after referee Julius Odhiambo signalled the end of the fight, an excited Mandonga punched the air in joy, doing some shuffling and was joined by his manager Juma Ndambire.
“Mandonga is now a brand in Tanzania through his gifted marketing skills,” said Ndambire.
“He has a contract with Wasafi Bet, Robi One and K4 Security to advertise their products. We’re now in talks with a prominent betting company for Mandonga to be their ambassador.”
Big-talking Mandonga, 43, thanked Kenyans for their warm welcome and said he will be back in April.
“Nimesema na kutenda, Mandonga Mtukazi nimempiga Wanyonyi mpaka akaogopa kuja kwa raundi ya sita maanake angeramba sakafu. Naja Kenya tena mwezi wa nne.” Mandonga has improved his record to 4-3-1 (2 KOs).
In the co-main supporting middleweight bout, Kenya’s Rayton Okwiri outpointed Tanzania’s Shabani Ndaro who was warned several times by the referee George Athman for constantly holding his opponent.
“He messed up my plans for the fight, whenever I wanted to set up my attack he was holding me, and the referee was also too lenient,” said Okwiri.
With that victory, Okwiri has improved his record to 9-1-1 (6 KOs) and Ndaro dropped to 5-1-1 (2 KOs). It was Ndaro’s first defeat in his professional boxing career.
Super-featherweight: Jean John Colin outpointed David Omollo (Kenya)
Featherweight: Reddy Bellehumeur (Mauritius) lost on points to Albert Kimario (Kenya)
Featherweight: Jane Kavulani lost on points to Praxides Anyango. All Kenyans.
Heavyweight: Kennedy St-Pierre (Mauritius) TKO’d Yannick Mandu Katuta (DRC) first round
Heavyweight: Louis Cedric Oliver (Mauritius) outpointed James Nyariki (Kenya)
Super-middleweight Adel Motean (Mauritius) KO’d Lucien Botumbe (DRC) in round two.
Middleweight: Rayton Okwiri (Kenya) outpointed Shabani Ndaro (Tanzania)
Super-middleweight: Karim Mandonga (Tanzania) TKO’d Daniel Wanyonyi (Kenya) in round 6.