Kampala — Bar the stage lights that occasionally failed, the Big Show by Baltic Pro Box Promotions at the MTN Arena-Lugogo Sunday did not disappoint.
Attendance, sound and punctuality was okay; the ring announcers spot-on; the 11 bouts fantastic and the sultry ring girls kept the glitz and glamour a notch high.
But one thing was obvious: the rivalry between veteran boxers Isaac 'Zebra' Ssenyange, alias Mando and Haruna 'Banabana' Diba. Their first professional encounter here (in 2012), ended in a rare draw as both exhibited unboxing moves--much to the disappointment of their fans.
Since then, the super middleweights never see eye-to-eye and whenever they meet, they are in agitated mood. On Sunday's 'Big Show', both enjoyed emphatic victories, breeding more anxiety for the protracted rematch. Diba started a bit slow against returning veteran Yasin Kakungulu, but rained ferocious body shots enfeebling the resilient Kakungulu's defence in the third round.
Celebrating that emphatic technical knockout victory, Diba, cheered by his Kibuli fans, dared arch-rival Ssenyange. "You think I was ferocious? I doubt. This was just a tune-up for the so-called 'Mando' (Zebra Ssenyange); I can't wait to strangle that big-headed Zebra," an animated, pop-eyed Diba ranted to everyone's attention.
After former continental champion Badru Lusambya easily stopped Kenyan Joseph Odhiambo, Ssenyange, saved the best for last. First, he took to the ring as his male Bwaise fans sang 'Mando-Mando' in deafening vuvuzela rhythms as female supporters babes whirled yellow placards with lucid yet provocative messages, "Bwaise for Zebra Mando, Hell for Banabana" and "Banabana watch out, Zebra Mando's mantis style kills."
To walk the talk, Ssenyange employed his 'mantis style' and within 59 seconds, he had knocked out Ayub 'Saba-saba' Wakasadha. Ssenyange swiftly threatened: "Bring him (Diba) on now, I'm no longer human, I'm a beast, I'll just feast on him."
BIG SHOW - SELECTED BOUTS
Badru Lusambya bt Joseph Odhiambo
Mustapha Katende bt Kenny Lukyamuzi
Charles Mulindwa bt Julius Mponge
John Sserunjogi bt Mustafa Mongolia