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British coach calls on the establishment
of boxing gyms in Kenya to solve crime

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Boxing gyms should be established in Nairobi as a means of combating run away crime in the impoverished estates of the Kenyan capital.

Speaking on Monday, retired British professional boxer turned trainer, John Gillies, highlighted the sport can be used to engage youth constructively whilst giving them an outlet to make a living away from crime.

Gillies arrived in the country on Saturday alongside local boxer, Fatuma Zarika, who will put her World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Bantamweight title on the line against Mexican Yamileth Marcado in Nairobi on Saturday.

The trainer contrasted the Nairobi situation with his home city of Liverpool where boxing gyms have sprung up in the crime-infested poor areas of the English city.

“We have used gyms to get young kids away from crime since boxing teaches them discipline and focus and one or more should be started in Nairobi since there is a huge market for such a facility,” he said.

Zarika has been training ahead of her second WBC title fight at Gillies’ 4 Corner Combat and Fitness Gym that he set up two years ago with his partner, Joseph McNally who is expected in the Kenyan capital on Tuesday.

The former professional kickboxing, mixed martial arts and boxer said the rise of Zarika from the poor estates of Nairobi to the pinnacle of her sport was enough inspiration to set up the training facilities.

“Since we have arrived in Kenya, we have seen no boxing facilities and where Zee has gotten to in boxing to be a world champion is unbelievable. We went around Nairobi and we were told there’s no boxing gym and she’s gotten to be a world champion, it’s absolutely unbelievable,” he underscored.

The ex-fighter with 20 years of experience alias ‘Big John’ tipped the Kenyan (34) to prevail in her second WBC title defence against the much-younger Mexican (20) who has only lost once in her 13 fights.

He cited Zarika’s good attitude towards training, qualities in the ring; punch power, the speed, the jab, the boxing brain and a good all round game as the factors that will tilt the showdown to her favor.

Mercado is expected to arrive in Nairobi in the early hours of Tuesday with Gillies saying part of their two-month camp in the UK was geared towards studying her fighting technique.


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