Sunday, June 3, 2012

Boxer: Robert ‘Napunyi’ Wangila

Kenya was the first African nation to produce an Olympics boxing gold Medalist. However, for the London 2012 Games Kenya can only manage to send one boxer, Benson Gacheru Njangiru. Njangiru was one of the 10 Kenyans that represented the country at the African qualifiers tournament in Casablanca, Morocco and returned home with a silver medal. The old boxing days that were much revered appears to be no more but one Kenyan legend still remains in the African Boxers’ Hall of Fame.

Robert Wangila was born in September 1967 in Nairobi and is arguably the finest boxer Kenya has ever produced to date having being the only Kenyan to win an Olympics Gold Medal. After turning to professional boxing in 1989, he was able to compile a record of 22-5-0.

Wangila who started his boxing career with the Kenya Breweries boxing Club was known in his Jericho neighborhood as ‘Roba’. In 1986, while still 21 years-old he was considered the best welterweight boxer in Kenya. During his Amateur ranks, he had compiled a record of 165 wins and 5 losses.
In 1987, he won a gold medal at the 4th All Africa Games giving him an opening to the following Olympics in Seoul.
At the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, he won the Men’s welterweight gold medal after delivering a TKO to France’s Laurent Boudouani.
After turning pro in 1989, he went to the USA to establish his professional career with alias ‘Kidd’. There he started a record 12-0 until Eric Hernandez finished the winning streak in his 13th fight on a knockout in 1990.
He died in July 1994 after hours in coma arising from injuries received in a fight with David Gonzales in Las Vegas.

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