The National Cadets’ Boxing Championship, which concluded on Saturday, December 13 at Lugogo Indoor Stadium arena, brought to the fore as many positives, lessons and some serious reminders, writes Moses Mugalu.
Lukanga is back:
Sam Lukanga, Uganda’s boxing equivalent of US super promoter Don King, issued a bold comeback statement to sport after two of his clubs, under the umbrella of Lukanga BC, clinched the Juniors and Youth titles. Another Lukanga side finished runner-up to champions UPDF in the Elite category championship.
A dominant force in the late 1990s through the 2000s in national boxing events, Lukanga resolved to keep a low profile in 2010 after losing an election bid to become president of the federation. Renowned for his kind hand to pugilists (he has helped as many boxers financially to build their careers) and hunger for his clubs to win, Lukanga’s absence was largely felt in the local boxing fraternity but he was unmistakable at the week-long Cadets tournament.
For instance, Lukanga pushed through 16 pugilists to the finals of the three (Juniors, Youth and Elites) categories. This was the biggest number of finalists from any single club. As traditional powerhouses such as KBC, East Coast and Police struggled to have their presence felt in the Championship, Lukanga made an instant impact. His return is widely expected to add the much-needed competition in local events.
Age cheating thrives:
As Fred Kavuma, spokesman of the tournament-organising Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF), noted many coaches didn’t know the real ages of their boxers, especially those entered in the Juniors’ category competition. Kavuma explained that UBF resolved to relax rules on age compliance since this was the first time such a three-in-one (juniors, youth and elite) championship had been organised on the local calendar.
Exhausting bout schedule:
Given the overwhelming response in participation 286 boxers from 46 clubs, the bout schedule was quite exhausting for officials. For instance, each day’s fight roster comprised of as many as 74 bouts and officials (including judges, referees and coaches) had to work till 10pm during the preliminary and knockout stages.
With two fight rings mounted in the arena, some coaches were caught between a hard place and rock when pugilists from the same club had bouts going on concurrently. Kavuma says UBF have learnt lessons and will ensure such scenarios are avoided next time.
Juniors [15-16 years]: Lukanga 21pts, Kampala High, 14pts, Cobap, 11pts
Youth [17-18 years]: Lukanga, 30pts, Cobap, 11pts, Namungona, 10pts
Elite [19-40 years]: UPDF, 35pts, Lukanga, 29pts, Kalinabiri, 11pts
Source : The Observer