Tribute: Where are members of coach Katende’s last Bombers team?

Before that sad end, Katende’s last team of eight had won five bronze medals at the 2015 African Championship in Casablanca, Morocco and four qualified for World Championship in Doha

Heavy blows: Super Heavyweight Ssekabembe (left) was the longest serving bomber under Dick Katende. Photo by Ismail Kezaala 

BY Abdul-Nasser Ssemugabi

IN SUMMARY

Boxing. His passing left a vacuum in the sweet science; one that will take ages to be filled. For decades he was an icon who taught young fighters the A-Z of boxing and continues to be remembered among the greatest names to have associated with the sport in Ugandan history. Boxing of course has moved on but the role of Dick Katende will live long in the memory of those he transformed into local and international champions.

KAMPALA. It is exactly a year since veteran national boxing coach Dick ‘Tiger’ Katende died after collapsing in the washroom at his home in Naguru.
By then, Coach Dick, as he was known in boxing circles, was serving an indefinite ban by the Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) since one boxer missed the 2015 World Championship with weight issues.

Before that sad end, Katende’s last team of eight had won five bronze medals at the 2015 African Championship in Casablanca, Morocco and four qualified for World Championship in Doha.
However, all the eight boxers quit national duty. So in loving memory of the fallen coach, we ask: where are they?

Fazil Juma Kaggwa (Amsterdam)
His failure to make the light fly (49kg) weight saw him expelled from the 2015 World Championship in Doha.
He and Coach Dick were banned indefinitely by the UBF. His rising star began falling: he lost his Aiba Pro-Boxing deal and the dollars, and missed the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The celebrity of his generation, Kaggwa sought refuge in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The 2014 Commonwealth bronze medallist is in trials in pursuit for a permanent pro deal with Wilfried Sauerland Promotions.

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Rogers Semitala (Kampala)
The Bombers captain lost instantly in Doha.
He agonisingly lost the 2016 National Olympics trials to Atanus Mugerwa due to a swollen knuckle.

After recovering, he immediately turned professional.
He has so far an impressive seven straight knockouts in his pro career pending a move to the United States.
Corporal Hassan Abdu (Mogadishu)
He lost his second fight in Doha, ending Uganda’s medal hopes at the Worlds. At the 2016 National Open he lost to the unheralded Wasswa Ssali in the quarterfinals, ruining his Olympic dream. Currently serving in the African Mission in Somalia, hopes to join professional boxing.

S/Sergeant M. Ssekabembe (Bombo)
Another 2014 Commonwealth bronze medallist, the UPDF Staff Sergeant sacrificed the 2015 World Championships for the World Military Games. He lost the 2016 Africa Olympic trials in Yaoundé. The superheavyweight in his advanced 30s feels he served his time in the army sports department. He seeks freedom to try pro boxing.

Willy Kyakonye (Amsterdam)
He reached the semis of the African Championship but did not qualify for Doha. Neither did he return to the Aiba World Series of Boxing, where Caciques de Venezuela franchise paid him dollars. Living in Amsterdam, he knocked out Dutch Gino da Fonseca in his major pro debut on March 19, 2017.

Muhammad Sserunkuuma (Kampala)
He had impressed in Casablanca before hitting Angola’s Adilson Ramiro below the belt hence losing. Preferring his jobs to boxing, this immensely talented boy is now a shadow of his fantastic self. He lost the 2017 National Open to the very boxers who idolised him.

Kennedy Katende (Sundsvall)
He controversially lost the quarterfinals in Casablanca, on his Ugandan debut but he won a third-place box-off in the 2016 African trials in Cameroon to qualify for his second Olympics. However, the 2008 Olympian’s experience did not count in Rio when he instantly lost to Britain’s eventual bronze medallist Joshua Buatsi. He returned to Sundsvall, Sweden; his next boxing step little known.

Nasser Bukenya (Berlin)
Despite a shattered Olympic dream, he is training young boxers in Germany. Like he did at his Nasser’s Junior Boxing Academy in Zzana, he does at Schoenberg Box Club, Berlin—perhaps long-term dividends of his performance at the 2014 German-Africa Sports Camp in Berlin.

assemugabi@ug.nationmedia.com

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