Cyiza eyes gold at Africa Boxing Championships in Brazzaville

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Jean Pierre Cyiza last represented Rwanda in the 2014 All Africa Youth where he won bronze. (S. Ngendahimana)

The 2014 All Africa Youth Games bronze medalist Jean Pierre Cyiza has insisted he is aiming for nothing less than a gold medal at the forthcoming AFBC African Boxing Championships in Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo from May 27 – June 4.

The 23-year-old, who says he was inspired to take up boxing by Filipino professional boxer and politician Manny Pacquiao, won Rwanda’s first bronze medal in the lightweight (60kg) in Botswana.

Speaking to Times Sport recently, Cyiza said that he has set his sights on winning the country's first gold medal in boxing and also to qualify for next qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The soft-spoken boxer is among the seven pugilists who were selected by Rwanda Amateur Boxing Association (RABA) two weeks ago, to represent the country in Congo.

“For me, preparations are going on well and the aim, once again, is to do well after some time without engaging in any international competition. I’m looking forward to the African Championship, which is also a qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo,” Cyiza said.

He noted that, “My goal is to win gold this time around and enter the history books of Rwandan boxing, which has stagnated in the last three years.”

Cyiza last represented Rwanda in the 2014 All Africa Youth Games where he won bronze after failing to qualify to the finals as he lost to South Africa’s Fuzile Azinga 2-1 in the semi-finals.

Now he says he is back, and his coach Jean Claude Gatorana says, “Cyiza is one of the promising boxers we’re looking forward to doing well in Brazzaville along with middleweight Vincent Nsengiyumva (71kg).

Gatorana, who is training the pugilists ahead of continent’s biggest boxing competition, said, “It wouldn’t mean anything if the team puts in hard work in training but aren’t in top conditions on the day of the fight. So, we need to have them in top condition physically and mentally.”

Seven pugilists in different categories including one female are expected to depart Kigali for Brazzaville on May 25, two days before the AFBC showdown starts.

These include: Olivier Niyigena (52kgs) David Nsabimana (57kgs), Alex Niyomurenyi (60kgs), Jean Pierre Cyiza, and Charles Muvunyi both in the (64kgs), Vincent Nsengiyumva (81kgs) and female boxer Rachel Iratuzi (62kgs).

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