The Observer (Kampala)

1 January 2013

Uganda: Sanity May Prevail in Amateur Boxing

Wrangles over legitimacy of the Uganda Amateur Boxing Federation (UABF) rendered Ugandan pugilists inactive over the last three years but that's about to change if the warring parties come to the table as promised, writes Moses Mugalu.

The two rivals camps; Godfrey Nyakana and Dr Ntege Ssengendo, have agreed to a truce by supporting formation of a new UABF constitution, the future looks brighter in 2013.

Proper polls to elect a legitimate UABF executive should be held and consequently, national team boxers (The Bombers) return to the competitive scene.

In the paid ranks, WBC-I champion Joseph 'Fabulous Joey Vegas' Lubega will defend his light heavy weight belt in the year's first quarter in Kampala. Also, US-based Sharif 'The Lion' Bogere is set to roar and rule the world this year. Boasting a perfect 23-0,15KOs record, a late injury postponed Bogere's fight against Cuban Richard Abril for the WBA lightweight title.

Back home, there should be more professional fights if the UPBC boss, Moses Kiyingi Bbosa lives up to his word. Kiyingi who took over from Celestino Mindra last November promised to help promoters in organizing fights (for instance by availing the ring for free) and ensure boxers get their purses, which have been some of sticking issues in the past.

Prospects:

National team boxers; Fazil Juma (l/flyweight), Rogers Ssemitala (flyweight) and Emmanuel Nsubuga (bantamweight) are the stars to watch in 2013 as Uganda begins early preps on the road to the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. The trio's debut performance in the AIBA world youth championships in Armenia two months ago only served to shake off the rust from the long period of inactivity.

The three pugilists fell out at the preliminary stage but they showed immense potential to improve once given more exposure. And that exposure should come through a number of tournaments, starting with the National Open, lined up on the 2013 calendar.

Events to look out for:

The National Open championship, tentative slated for February, is a big attraction on the 2013 calendar as an event that determines who joins the national team ranks. On the international level, the African championships due June in Mauritius should give Ugandan boxers a chance to get themselves before the Olympic qualifiers begin.

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