Featured image collage (Liberian boxers: Grace Fahnbulleh, Freddy Kiwitt, Jeroson B Garduward, Timothy Williams.)

Boxing at the 13th African Games has begun and it’s off to an exciting start. Preliminaries started on Friday 15 March with the women’s 57 kg rounds of 16. All bouts are being held at the Bukom Boxing Arena in Accra, Ghana.

As Go Team Liberia previously reported, Liberia has registered four boxers, and all of those athletes have competed.

In amateur boxing, victory is given to the boxer who scores highest based on three rounds. At the African Games, five judges determined the winner of each fight. Here are the most recent results and what’s next.

Liberia’s leading lady advances to semifinals

Grace Fahnbulleh, the lone female boxer representing Liberia at the African Games, started her fight on day three of the boxing event. By the end of the match, Liberian fans were cheering when the ref announced her as the winner over Egypt’s Aly Habiba.

Fahnbulleh beat Habiba in the women’s 50 kg quarterfinals (4-3). This win advanced her to the semifinals. In preparation for her 2024 boxing season, Fahnbulleh moved to Ireland where she’s been training with a new coach.

“I feel really good about my fight,” Grace told GTL. “All of the women and girls doing great things is very amazing to see.”

Liberia will meet Morocco, Algeria and Nigeria in the semifinals, which are currently scheduled to take place on Wednesday 20 March.

Men’s boxing started with 60 kg

On day two of the boxing competition, Liberia took part in three fights: the men’s 57 kg,¬† 60 kg, and 71 kg. Unfortunately, all three boxers failed to advance past the preliminaries. The fighters noted different issues with gear, rules, and preparing for the fight.

Liberia’s Jeroson Barkin Garduward was the first to fight in the men’s 60 kg match, on 16 March. Garduward¬† fought against Ghana’s Joseph Commey, who won a silver medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The referee stopped Garduward and Commey’s fight after round two and called victory for Ghana.

“I feel real terrible about my fight” Garduward told GTL. “I feel like I didn’t get a chance to show what I could do, I feel like I was handicapped.”

Garduward mentioned experiencing difficulties with boxing officials, causing him to run around before his match in an attempt to sort out the issues. According to Garduward officials wanted to disqualify him for having an improper mouth piece and for wearing a jersey with his country’s flag on it.

The young boxer was given a mouthpiece that he said didn’t fit, but he continued on with the match. He also said he was given eight counts for clinching his jaw to keep the mouth piece from falling out, but he was ready to continue on with the fight.

Regardless, he remains optimistic about learning from these issues and doing better the next time.

“Experience is everything,” Garduward said. “I learned a lot from that fight…mostly outside of the ring and things I need to prepare for so stuff like that can never happen again.”

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Liberia featherweight match results

Next, Timothy Williams entered the ring to represent Liberia in the men’s featherweight division. Organizers paired Williams against Kassim Murungi from Uganda. Referees also stopped this fight after two rounds announcing Uganda the winner.

Williams told GTL he was notified of the opportunity to represent Liberia at the African Games one week before the match. Though he didn’t have time to fully prepare, Williams was happy to represent the country.

“I feel good about the fight,” Williams said, in a post-match interview. “I feel like I was not fully prepared, that’s why it went that way, but the fight was good, it was fair.”

It was Williams first time in a major tournament and boxing arena, and he found the entire experience exciting.

Recap of Liberia in men’s 71 kg

Freddy Kiwitt represented Liberia in the men’s 71 kg match against Egypt’s Omar Elsayed. The fight lasted all three rounds, however Elsayed won by unanimous decision (5:0).

There appeared to be a slight issue, right before the match started, and commentators made note of the short delay, but when the bell rang Kiwitt appeared ready to fight. However, judges awarded each round to Egypt.

“Obviously, I didn’t get the results I wanted, but it’s different from what I was used to so that itself was an experience” Kiwitt said.

Kiwitt is a professional boxer, who dropped down to amateur boxing which has less rounds that are much faster. It requires a much different technique and strategy.

The team now waits to cheer on Fahnbulleh in the semifinals on Wednesday. After the African Games, the boxers will continue to fight in a series of matches. GTL will post those events at a later time.