Kenyan boxers have, for the last seven months, been unable to take part in fights and boxing duels due to COVID-19 restrictions in the country. On the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, the Kenyan government barred all sporting activities as per the regulations set by The Ministry of Health geared towards curbing COVID-19. Seven months down the line, there is yet to be a lift in general sports restrictions, including those imposed on boxing. Other sports such as Football have been allowed to resume, albeit with strict COVID-19 restrictions and regulations.
Boxing: A Contact Sport
Boxing is a contact sport, and for boxers, it would be impossible to social distance during a fight. Players would also not wear face masks during fights as it would be taxing and interfere with breathing. Boxing has, therefore, been left behind when it comes to reopening sports, even as boxers have been fervently preparing for a resumption of the sport. For the last several months, Kenyan boxers have been practicing and exercising to ensure that they can effectively participate in local and regional boxing matches when the Ministry of Health warrants resumption.
Reliance on Sport
Kenyan boxers rely on the sport for sustenance, and those who are professional boxers have been hit the most by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant restrictions. Boxing in Kenya is still a growing sport, and when sporting activities were barred back in March, numerous professional boxers had to find alternative sources of income. Those who were lucky found menial jobs to sustain them during the pandemic, but others had to leave the city and go back to their native homes upcountry and outside Nairobi. This is because most of them lack enough income to sustain paying rent and living in the city.
A resumption of boxing in the country could mean a chance for boxers to get back in the ring and continue training and taking part in matches. The sport should resume so that boxers can duel other boxers and gauge themselves and their form in anticipation of official matches and tournaments. Over the last few decades, Kenya has been a major contender in boxing in the East African region and the African continent. A resumption would mean that some of the country’s best boxers can effectively prepare to defend their titles or challenge current champions for various titles.