SportPesa has upgraded the Umoja Boxing Gym with a new roof enabling permanent installation of its ring, giving amateur boxers access to train round the clock.
SportPesa’s support is in addition to a donation of boxing kits facilitating upcoming fighters to train comfortably.
The Umoja Boxing Gym was started in 2002 as a makeshift structure by amateur boxers in Umoja One Estate and was later upgraded, with the help of local elected leaders and Boxing Federation of Kenya chairman Anthony Ombok, into a gym. It comprised a cemented training area and basic gym equipment but lacked a roof. The roof renovation cost Ksh1.2 million.
“Sports has always been at the heart of what SportPesa does. As we adopt other areas of support to the community through our CSR arm SportPesa Foundation, we shall also keep in sight various sports projects such as this one,” said SportPesa CEO Captain Ronald Karauri.
“We are proud to play a role in uplifting this community initiative that gives the young people of this area hope and a future of being professional boxers,” added Capt. Karauri.
Embakasi West Member of Parliament George Theuri has been involved in the gym since it started, supporting it and amateur boxers in the community.
“It was a struggle to put this place up, it started with a simple structure, we then sat as a committee and decided to buy this ring, then we didn’t know we would one day have a facility like this. It was a dream and today we are seeing this dream become a reality. We now have a place where we can hold our events for free,” said Hon. Theuri.
At any one time up to 30 amateur boxers train at the gym. Over the years it has trained over 100 boxers some of whom have moved to professional boxing including George Onyango – who fights in the light weight category. Onyango is remembered for defeating Fred Nyakesa during the September 2018’s Nairobi Fight Night, which was sponsored and staged by SportPesa.
“We have had to assemble and disassemble the ring due to the lack of the roof to preserve it from the vagaries of weather. We sought support in various corners to put in place a roof, so the ring can be permanent and we are very excited that SportPesa agreed to assist us,” said Mike Mungai, one of the founding members of the community boxing gym.
“We can now have the ring permanently and boxers can train round the clock.”
One of the guests during the event was SportPesa brand ambassador and professional boxer Zarika Fatuma.