KASHINDO David, what a force in the boxing ring – and in real life! Kashindo has never lost a fight since entering competitive boxing in Belfast two years ago. He has nothing to defend because no-one is coming for him yet.
The light featherweight power that he has must be tested as the 32-year-old from Kenya wants to know who in the Belfast area and further afield wants to test him. “I am doing brilliant at our local boxing club, Cornerstone Boxing Academy, which is in Belfast,” he tells me. “I have never lost a fight. I had a year when I was just training alone, no coach, no club, it was hard but I was determined.”
Kashindo started boxing when he took up serious training three years ago. With Covid in the background, he decided that this must be the sport for him. He remembers when he used to fight for nearly everything in his Kilifi district in Kenya. “When you are not fighting for petty stuff there you are fighting for your life, it was this that gave me the discipline.” The irony of what Kashindo says basically informs why his mind is always packed with a mission to be positive about things. He says if he is not positive he will be sad about everything and he has no time for politics, for example. He prefers sports because it enriches his life and health.
Kashindo trains for five to seven days a week and hopes that once he progresses well his wins will produce title fights soon. He decries the fact that many of his scheduled bouts are cancelled because of opponents dropping out, this should be better organised, he feels, because “we all have things to attend to.”
He is disciplined enough to know that there is always a marked day for them and it will come and they will suffer, he says with a smile. Kashindo is a very intelligent man, streetwise and with a rather silent sense of humour. In one of his recent fights, he was landing the punches, with smooth and accurate jabs finding his opponent, Ryan Dawson. He put Dawson to the ground in the sixth minute.
Dawson had been doing very well with plenty of left jabs, but when he went down it became a free run for Kashindo the King. These local fights are attracting full houses and that's the spirit of Belfast boxing and other sports. He is happy with his management, especially because they are proactive and are always finding bouts for him. He is a tactical fighter who figures out his opposition in the early stages. This has helped him a lot to master his game.
“I want as many fans as I can get. I want to make the fans of my challengers my fans. Remember, I have been in the boxing ring for only just over two years and I have defeated people who have fought in the ring for over ten years.” Back as a young person, Kashindo says he was always fighting. It was very hard for his family to get him out of a fight.
He fought the bullies hard, even the bigger kids, and Kashindo is not a giant of a person, even in his adulthood. He says after that nobody dared picked on him because his warrior prowess was known. He defended his friends also and that was his normal day. Kashindo grew up in a difficult area of Kilifi in Kenya.
It doesn't mean that every person he encountered was bad or the whole area was a war zone. There were just battles that can be seen in any other place, especially where poverty is a big problem.
Growing up with people who were ready to take a life in Kilifi was not easy, one had to be strong in body and mind to survive it. Kilifi is actually a very beautiful place in Kenya, just by the Indian Ocean and graced with tourist attractions like the Gedi ruins.
Kashindo hopes that one day he will bring some of his Irish friends to Kenya, especially the boxing fraternity, so that they can see the lives of boxers there. “I am missing my family and friends, going exercising along the big ocean, not being able to see the familiar faces. But those are now being replaced with familiar faces here in Northern Ireland.”
Cornerstone Boxing Academy is located in Corporation Street in Belfast. Kashindi believes that even at the age of 32, nothing can stop him from starting to defend competition belts and titles, but it's taking a little bit too long. He has a lot of compassion and talks about the aid relief work with the Red Cross that he did many years ago in Africa, supporting the poor.
“My philosophy is to be happy even at the point of death. Even when I am fighting for my belt I see it there, new and shiny, I want it I will take it.” Kashindo says that on the international scene, the boxing authorities in Kenya haven't given him a professional boxing licence yet, so he will look for one in Northern Ireland.
Media is very important in his boxing, he needs them to show interest otherwise he is done, and many of his compatriots are also going through the same media indifference. “At the moment I think people are going so much into MMA and that's definitely killing boxing, but MMA is a product of boxing.”
He wants to continue progressing and eventually be even greater than the Kenyan boxer Philip Waruinge who won Commonwealth and Olympic medals in the 1960s and 70s. Waruinge, who died in 2020 at the age of 77, was discovered by an Irish boxing coach, Maxie McCullough. He fought Paddy Maguire of Northern Ireland in Jamaica during the 1966 Commonwealth Games.
Maguire was the only Irishman to ever knock out the amateur legend Mick Dowling.