Friday March 14 2014

The chronology of kickboxing’s most popular fights in Uganda

In perhaps his finest performance of his

In perhaps his finest performance of his career, Golola destroyed Tugume in the first round at Freedom City last year. It was a display that sent shockwaves in the sport and proved that the self-styled ‘No Joking Subject’ is arguably the most outstanding kick boxer in the country. PHOTOs BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 

By Abdu Wasike

June 1, 2011 – Moses Golola vs Abdul Qadir Rahim
To many, this fight was their introduction to kickboxing. Prior to that Ugandans didn’t have an idea of the sport. Moses Golola’s flamboyance and motor-mouth had for long made people develop a passion for the sport before watching him proper.

And on June 1, 2011 with the help of his then promoter Patrick Kanyomozi, Golola managed to have his first fight staged in Uganda against South Sudan’s Abdul Qadir Rahim. He duly knocked him out in the second round.

The verbally strong, comical, attention seeker and crowd puller managed to walk the talk as he won a world title fight. Golola manifested his brilliance as he connected often with his kicking and punched Qadir, who conversely did more kicking than boxing.

The first-ever international kickboxing fight in Uganda will forever be remembered as one of most attended fights thanks to the Golola phenomenon.

October 28, 2011 - Titus Tugume vs Malik Kaliisa
Malik ‘The Hitman’ Kaliisa was thumped by Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier Titus ‘The Hard Rock’ Tugume in national kickboxing contest.

The fight that was held at Kati Kati ended with Tugume registering a dominant victory. Kaliisa conceded defeat but attributed his loss to a slippery ring. He also felt his opponent engaged in slapping that was ignored by the referee.

December 09, 2011 – Moses Golola vs Andras Nagy (RIP)
An evening that had started with a lot of heightened anticipation ended in a mixture of anguish and dismay. The talk that preceded Golola’s fight with Hungarian Andras Nagy ended in controversy with the judges, the referee and the Master of Ceremonies announcing contrasting results.

The vacant World Kickboxing Federation (WKF) Inter-Continental title fight that attracted global interest had the Master of Ceremony Roger Mugisha announce a unanimous referees’ decision in favour of Golola. But it was quickly reversed by the referee, who gave the win to Nagy with the same points sparking off a protest from Golola’s technical team and fans.

June 30, 2012 – Moses Golola vs Mate Zsamboki
In what looked like a comeback fight after his controversial win over Nagy, Golola lost in the sixth round to another Hungarian, Mate Zsamboki, who many considered a pushover.

Golola’s career looked like it had ended in shocking fashion when he quit on the stool after taking an unprecedented beating in all six rounds against his unheralded opponent at Kyaddondo Rugby Grounds.

There was not even an iota of hope in the fifth round that Golola would change the tide of the fight.
When the referee came by to look at him, his corner said the fighter, who had threatened to hurt Zsamboki’s tongue, could not continue. Golola’s sympathizers on that day acknowleged he was no match for Zsamboki who outclassed him.

July 15, 2012 – Titus Tugume vs Malik Kaliisa
In their rematch, UPDF’s Tugume continued from where he stopped IN 2011. He stopped Kaliisa to retain his 75kg middleweight national title with a fourth round technical knockout victory at the MTN Arena.

Kaliisa needed more medical attention, surprisingly from Tugume’s camp, in the third and fourth round before his trainer Istvan Rozman threw in the towel to save his fighter.

October 19, 2012 - Ronald Mugula vs Andras Nagy (RIP)
Ronald Mugula became the new world intercontinental champion after he beat then Hungarian fighter, Andras Nagy.

The much anticipated fight ended prematurely when the lean Mugula ‘echnically knocked out his Hungarian opponent in the second round.
People braved the late-night chill to wait for the five rounds. In pummeling Nagy, Mugula thus succeeded where Golola failed.

February 26, 2013 - Sharif Bukenya vs Jarkko Jussila
Sharif Bukenya was rudely awakened to the fact that he still has a lot to do if he is to make a serious challenge on the kickboxing scene.

The Ugandan kick boxer was knocked out by European champion Jarkko Jussila in the fourth round at Freedom City, Najjanankumbi last year and since then has never bounced back.

Bukenya had promised to upset Jusilla but he was the one on the receiving end in the WKF Inter-continental welterweight title fight.

In the third round, the attacks had his gum shield falling out. He was then knocked out in the fourth round. It was evident that Jussilla was performing at another level altogether from his Ugandan opponent.

April 5, 2013 – Ronald Mugula vs Meszaros Janos Elek
Mugula managed to hit Romanian Elek Jonas before the fourth round to win the Super Pro Intercontinental title. Mugula had promised to knock down his Romanian opponent by the third round, which he succeeded.

A seemingly determined Mugula landed a well-weighted right hand punch to knockout Janos at Kyadondo. The European-based fighter fell to the canvas in a heap and failed to beat referee Charles Blick Mugoya’s count to send Mugula and his fans into celebrations.

April 21, 2013 – Moses Golola vs Istavn Betyar
Moses Golola recorded a win on his return since losing to Hungarian Zsamboki. He secured a unanimous victory with judges scoring 50-48, 50-45, 50-46 in his favour against another Hungarian Istavn Betyar.

One of the most popular sportsmen in the country, Golola’s star had suffered a big dent when he lost to Zsamboki in a world title fight.

The hugely awaited fight, dubbed ‘The Return of Golola Moses’, got underway in sluggish fashion with the first round ending with no serious kicks and punches. For some that attended, the Golola-Betyar clash was a disappointment.

June 14, 2013 - Umar Semata vs Rhys Karakriacos
Arguably one of the best kickboxing fights ever to be witnessed in Uganda, Muaythai kickboxer Umar Semata won the World Muaythai belt against Australian Rhys Karakriacos.

However, Semata found himself cornered in a thrilling battle against a brave challenger. The showdown went the the distance before the judges awarded him the day 50-47, 50-45 and 49-45.

August 8, 2013 - John Tumukunde vs Richard Nemeth
John Tumukunde became the new world kickboxing light weight champion after out-smarting Richard Nemeth in a poorly attended match at Hotel Africana.
Tumukunde proved too strong for the Romanian fighter when he wrapped up the fight in style with a third round with a technical knock-out.

The UPDF soldier was all smiles noting that he had promised to stop his opponent before the match.

Istvan Rozman, the Romanian’s trainer, saved his fighter from further punishment when he threw in the towel to stop the fight after Nemeth sustained an injury. The fight elevated Tumukunde’s reputation.

August 30, 2013 – Moses Golola vs Titus Tugume
Prior to the fight against UPDF’s Tugume, Golola promised to put a smile on his mother’s face by knocking out the soldier. Indeed, the self-styled ‘No Joking Subject’ lived to his promise as he knocked out his nemesis, the ‘Hard Rock’, in just one minute and two seconds at Freedom City to retain his East and Central African title, which he hadheld since 2011.

Tugume only managed a straight kick before falling in Golola’s right heavy punch that landed under his chin, forcing Tugume down - just in the right position to show “Rock” painted on his now facing-down head.

Centre referee Charles Wandera was in no doubt Tugume was in no right state to continue hence stopping the match in Golola’s favour.

November 18, 2013 – Moses Golola vs Zoltan Poczo
The fight staged at Natete Shopping Complex, belonged to Zoltan Poczo though with Moses Golola much on the defensive and his old flaws resurfacing. Like it was in the fight against Andras Nagy, most of the rather large crowd thought they knew the outcome.

The ring announcer Meddie Nsereko read out the results from the day’s judges 50-49, 45-50 and 49-47 (2-1) in the Ugandan’s favour. He had won by split decision! But not even he could muster the courage to revel in victory as he had got a dubious win.

January 1, 2014 – Ronald Mugula vs Abdallah Hessen
This time round, Ronald Mugula failed to shine in a highly anticipated world intercontinental welterweight fight on New Year’s Day at Freedom City. Many fans had expected the Ugandan fighter to beat his visiting Egyptian opponent but he went on to lose the global kick-boxing championship belt to Abdallah Hessen.

It was far from the battle on the ground as the Ugandan struggled to match the verve and determination of Hessen in all the four rounds.

By a 2-1 referees’ decision, Mugula lost by four points as the referee’s scorecards indicated 48-46,48-45 and 45-49 points, totaling to 144 and 140 points for Hessen and Mugula respectively.

March 8, 2014 – Moses Golola vs Ronald Mugula
Moses Golola in brilliant fashion managed to silence another Ugandan Ronald Mugula who dared him in what was referred to as the “undisputed king of kickboxing in Uganda.’

Golola, in a non-title five round fight held at Freedom city last week registered 50-48, 49-47 and 49-49 from the judges to be declared the nation’s best. Mugula kissed the canvas more than the floor. Through punches or kicks on a slippery surface, Golola was brought down to earth. Mugala.

It was such a disappointment however. He was not the real Mugula (left pic) we knew three years back. He didn’t even attempt to use his ‘reach’ advantage of the ‘Axe kick’.

By defeating Mugula, Golola confirmed himself as the country’s top kickboxer to go along with his status as the man who sold the sport in Uganda.