It is an innovation supposed to kick-start Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF)’s dream towards become a self-sustaining body. But the Uganda Boxing Champions League has been met with internal resistance by some elite pugilists who have not signed contracts.
Top names like Shadir Musa Bwogi and David Ssemujju have declined to sign, leaving the competition without some stardust but organisers are confident the inaugural Boxing Champions League will be a success.
Top Boy Promotions chief executive officer Sula Kamoga told The Observer that the they are working with the names submitted by UBF, the governing body of the sport. The signing of contracts and the code of conduct were done in mid- November but a section of boxers and clubs have elected not to take part.
In fact, it is understood that Bwogi and group are planning to petition parliament. They say the contract has various loopholes including denying them image rights and their own sponsorship.
The other elite name who will not participate is Catherine Nanziri, who made history this year when she became the country’s first-ever female boxer at the Summer Olympics.
It means Bwogi, Ssemujju and Nanziri are prepared to risk their national team places by sticking to their word. Meanwhile, UBF president Moses Muhangi, who is the brains behind the Boxing Champions League, is adamant the competition will go ahead as planned.
Last week, Muhangi said this format of competition would usher in a new age and era for a sport which had traditionally been one of the country’s more successful disciplines at the highest level but has undergone a lean spell in recent years.
In the preliminary bouts set for this Saturday (December 4) at Lugogo Indoor arena, Gilbert Lumbuye (Kiwatule BC) will battle with COPAB’s Joseph Kalema in the 48kg category.
In the flyweight, Gulu’s Geof- frey Ochan takes on Zebra Club’s Stuart Senoga and thereafter Fulje Mugerwa (Lukanga) will trade punches with Bwaise Boxing Club’s Patrick Kasozi in the bantamweight category.
There will be sparks in the featherweight class when Lukanga’s Jonah Kyobe meets Zebra’s Marvin Ssali. And in the lightweight, Mutajjazi’s Adinan Yasin will be fancied to prevail past Army’s Habib Hassan.
Kadiba’s Edward Kimera faces Sparks’ Pius Siriro in the light welterweight while Lukanga’s Owem Kibira is lined up for Umar Nvule, also of Sparks.
The day’s three final bouts in the light middle, middle and light heavyweight categories will see Muzamir Semuddu (Kololo) exchange with Richard Kasujja (Lukanga), Rashid Iga (Army) fight Ronald Okello (Gulu) and Medi Mutebi (Zebra) en- counter Lawrence Kayiwa (Kira).
Muhangi said UBF are closing in on a broadcast agreement with one of the television companies.
UGANDA BOXING FEDERATION DEMANDS ANSWERS ON MISSING BOXERS
The Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) has called for answers from the government on the arrest of their members.
The federation which held a press conference on Saturday at Kati Kati Restaurant in Lugogo says that for long boxers have been victimized and arbitrarily arrested by security personnel. This follows the death of Isaac Zebra Ssenyange who was shot dead by security personnel.
According to the President of the Association Moses Muhangi, four boxers are missing and their whereabouts unknown. They include Coach Robinson Mudde Ntambi, the Former UBO World Super Flyweight Champion who was reportedly picked from his home, Michael Kiiza a boxer and sports trainer at Mengo Social Centre, Joseph Lubega who participated in the 2004 Olympics and Robert Mukasa.
On the death of Zebra, the Federation says they want justice for Zebra since the President says he knows the killers.
Muhangi says that although Justine Juuko, a former Boxer was released, the federation demands to know why he was arrested.
According to Muhangi, boxers have been victimized, with some of gyms and boxing clubs raided.
Hajji Juma Nsubuga a boxing coach has proposed that a list of boxing clubs be generated and forwarded to the President so that the clubs that are not known can be questioned.