A boxer practices on one of Pamwani gym’s few punching bags during training. Most boxers train every afternoon, usually going to the gym straight after work. Few boxers in Kenya are able to make a living solely off of boxing.
A young boy watches on as older boys train together at Mathare North, a boxing club in Nairobi’s second largest slum. Older boxers often hold training sessions for the youth in order to pass on their skills to Kenya’s next generation. Boxers will often have to start training as early as eight years old though, if they want a chance at going professional.
A boxer rests after a sparring session. Competition in Kenya’s boxing gyms is intense, as boxing for many is their only opportunity out of the lives most were born into.
A young child trains with an adult at the Dallas gym in downtown Nairobi,
A boxer protects his face with his hands while sparring with a fellow boxer during training. To the youth boxing provides an outlet not just from the grim reality of most of the boxers’ lives, but also a potential path out. Though becoming an international boxing sensation may be a long shot, boxing does improve one’s chances of being recruited by the Kenyan police and army.
A boxer at Pamwani gym spars in front of a mirror while warming up for the day’s training session. Most of Kenya’s boxers fight in the lighter divisions. This is partly due to Kenyan’s natural physique, but also results from most boxers’ poor backgrounds and inadequate nutrition growing up.
Two boxers spar during a training session. Pamwnai boxing club is the proud owner of the 1988 Seoul Korea Olympic Games boxing ring, where Robert Wangila made history by becoming the first African athlete to win a gold medal in boxing.
Boxers at Pamwani Social Club practice on the club’s punching bags during a training session. Pamwani Social Club is one of Kenya’s best known boxing gyms and is home to professionals and amateurs alike. With limited equipment, though, everyone must wait their turn during training.
A young boxer rests after a session on one of the club’s punching bags. Posters of boxers litter the walls of Pamwani, to encourage young boxers during training and as a way to show them Kenyans who have made it in the sport.