19 December 2012

Uganda: Kickboxer Brings Hope to Fans

Ugandan kickboxing largely remains a comedy show, but local fans will be encouraged by the overall progress of the sport in 2012.

Having three major fights in one year (major in the sense that they were well-publicized) was an achievement of some proportions.

Sports like kickboxing are helplessly dependent on personalities and all the major local fighters stepped into the ring this year. But just as amazing as the quantity of the fights was their quality.

Each contest was completely different from the others and in many ways the beauty of kickboxing is its ability to endlessly provide unique punch-lines

Inevitably, it was Moses Golola who was involved in the most laughable bout. The face - and for that matter mouth - of Ugandan kickboxing met the imposing Hungarian Mate Zsamboki in June in Kampala. But the fight that was supposed to redeem 'Golola the kick-boxer' simply emphasised 'Golola the comic'.

The Ugandan's performance against Zsamboki was a disappointment to the locals who still had faith in the idea that the he could still be objectively categorised as a kick-boxer.

Zsamboki killed the idea soon as the match, televised live on national TV, begun. By the time Golola claimed an injury in the sixth round, the question wasn't whether the man would recover from this.

The real question was how the sport would recover from the embarrassment of its poster boy.

Just two weeks after Golola's massive faux pas, the sport was back in the spotlight due to the rematch between Titus Tugume and Malik Kalisa. On pure merit alone, this, was always a no-contest.

Kalisa - probably with some persuasion from her lover Sylvia Owori - wanted to prove a point to Tugume and others.

But the crushing punishment he received from the 'Hard Rock' would have left Kalisa and obviously Owori - who was reduced to tears - in agreement with Tugume's assertions.


But if it's any consolation, Owori's can forever claim credit for the most painful show of affection in history.

Talking consolations, Ronald Mugula's decimation of Andras Nagy ensured kick-boxing ended the year on a high.

Nagy, the man responsible for the genesis of Golola's decline, returned to his East African hunting ground hoping for a happy return to Hungary. But the 'Saviour' - Mugula's nickname, no doubt inspired by Golola's loss to Nagy - was waiting.

Mugula registered a technical knockout against Nagy in the second round, having dominated the contest from the onset. The Ugandan became a world intercontinental champion for his troubles, proving that the sport is ready to go beyond the ridicule that it is so easily elicited over the last two years.

Golola came out to claim that Mugula defeated Nagy because he had first 'softened' the Hungarian but now we all know whose word to take more seriously.

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