Olympic Qualifiers: 68 African Boxers Crash Out in Italy

Africa’s quest for a Paris Olympics spot at the qualifiers held in Busto-Arsizio, Italy ended on a sour note with all the 68 boxers failing to earn one of the 49 available slots in the first World Olympic Qualification tournament, which ended on Tuesday.

As at Monday, there were only three female African boxers left in the competition as 65 African boxers, including all 48 male pugilists, were already eliminated before the quarter-finals.

The three female boxers lost their fights on Monday night.

Tunisia’s bantamweight Islem Ferchichi was the first casualty, beaten by Vietnam’s Vo Thi Kim Anh, who dominated the three rounds for a convincing unanimous points victory.

Much was expected from Cape Verde’s Ivanusa Moreira, the African welterweight champion, when she squared up against 2019 world silver medallist Angela Carini, but the Italian remained in the driver’s seat, winning each of the three rounds 10:9 for a 30:27 victory.

Nigeria’s Africa silver medallist Patricia Mbata was the most impressive among the three African boxers.

After losing the first round 10:9 points, Mbata rallied back strongly in the second round, which she won 10:8 to lead 19-18 because of a point deducted after a warning on Polish 2014 Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Elzbieta Wojcik.

However, Wojcik bounced back to take the third round 10-9 to tie the score at 28-28.

With Wojcik winning two rounds, the pendulum tilted in her favour and was declared 5-0 winner.

Mbata’s defeat marked a miserable end of the road to Paris for the 68 African boxers who took part in the Italy qualifiers as none of them qualified for the Paris Olympics.

However, all is not lost for the African boxers as they still have another chance to try their luck at the second World Olympic Qualifiers scheduled for Bangkok, Thailand from May 23 to June 3.

With most of the elite boxers booking their Paris tickets in the continental and the Italy qualifiers, the Thailand qualifiers will be less competitive, giving the top African boxers a chance of making it to the Olympic Games.

So far, Africa has 18 boxers, including three Nigerians, who’ve booked their Paris tickets after the Africa Olympic qualifiers last year in Dakar, Senegal.