The Nakuru Amateur Boxing club was formed and registered in 1962. The club that is colloquially known as Madison Square has one of the best boxing rings in Africa.
The building currently known as Nakuru Amateur Boxing club was initially a garage. Constructed in 1936, the original owner was Mrs Marion Elizabeth Couldrey. She had a team of mechanics who used to service farm machinery. Later it was used as a garage for the British Army machinery.
Marion Elizabeth was the wife of Frank James Couldrey. Frank is described as a strong compulsive write who upon his death was mourned by both friend and foe. He was an editor and owned the Kenya Weekly News.
After the Second World War, the building was used as a depot for soldiers operating in Lanet. It had been leased to one Jack Thompson until 1957.
Setting up Nakuru Amateur Boxing club
In 1958, Mr Maxie McCullough and Major F. Ryan took over the building. The two embarked on its renovation and in 1959 set up a committee to oversee boxing at the new premises.
Maxie McCullough had been involved in boxing for several years. He had been recruiting boxers from schools including Phillip Waruinge who was to become a national hero later. In 1962, the club was registered as a sports club.
Some of those who pioneered at NABC include; Phillip Maingi, Stephen Ndegwa, John Nderu, Gabriel Kinyua, Peter Morris, Sammy Kiratu, Stephen Gichaya, Arizona Odak and Kamau Mbugua among others.
To finance the running of the club, Maxie McCullough who acted as the coach had set up a bar within the club. The bar still stands to date. According to Phillip Maingi who used to train under McCullough, the coach was late for training only once in the entire period he was there.
“Maxie was never late. He would open the club punctually at 5 PM from Monday to Friday. It was only once during this time that he came late,” Maingi says with administration.
The passionate coach had bought some foldable chairs from the Odeon Cinema which he would fold and put under the ring. Unfortunately, he suffered a cardiac arrest while at the club and was rushed to Annex Hospital. He later passed on in Northern Ireland which was his origin.
NABC would train its members to take part in local and regional competitions. The first stage was the Rift Valley Championship followed by the Kenya Novice Boxing Championship. The third stage was the Kenya Intermediate and then the Kenya Open Championship.
Maingi, a boxer turned writer and farmer, says that unlike today’s boxing which he describes as robotic, back then they were taught defensive and offensive tactics.
“In my opinion, boxing is the most beautiful sport,” says the retired boxer in nostalgia.
Successes from NABC
Mr Phillip Waruinge is without a doubt the most successful boxer to have come out of NABC. At 17 years, he represented Kenya in the All African Games held in Cairo, Egypt. The same year, he won a bronze at the Commonwealth Games. For more of his successes, read this article about Phillip Waruinge.
Isaiah Ikhoni was a member of the famous “Hit Squad” that made Kenya proud in the 70s. His style was fast and accurate and he won Kenya a Gold medal at 1987 All African Games held at Kasarani.
Peter “Dynamite” Odhiambo won gold at the 1995 All African Games. Daniel Mwangi was another product of NABC who represented the country in several bouts.
Steve Muchoki is another pugilist who went on to do Kenya proud after honing his skills at NABC.
The Nakuru Amateur Boxing club still stands. Although it’s a shadow of the days it used to be considered “a factory for boxers” it still attracts a sizeable crowd whenever they have tournaments.