Boxer Kiwanuka wants to emulate Ugandan greats of the sweet science

Friday March 22 2019

Ready to rumble: Kiwanuka (L) and Karama (r)

Ready to rumble: Kiwanuka (L) and Karama (r) yesterday. PHOTO BY ABDU-NASSER SSEMUGABI 

By Abdu-Nasser Ssemugabi

KAMPALA. Certainly, Shafik Kiwanuka’s amateur record cannot compare at all to the likes of Ayub Kalule, John the Beast Mugabi, Kassim Ouma, Cornelius Boza Edwards. But the lanky boxer, popular as The Killing Machine, dreams he can emulate the aforementioned legends in the professional arena.
The quartet, after impressing in the amateur circles, went on to win world titles as professionals, a feat no other Ugandan has ever matched.
“My dream in professional boxing is to win a world title. I want to be among Uganda’s greats like Ayub Kalule, John ‘The Beast’ Mugabi, Kassim Ouma, Boza-Edwards,” said Kiwanuka during the weigh-in at the MTN Arena-Lugogo yesterday.
Kiwanuka, a product of Kampala Boxing Club, won the 2017 national [amateur] heavyweight title. He was also part of the Bombers team that won gold and two silver medals at the 2017 African Championship, but he did not survive Cape Verde’s Lopes Borbes in the preliminaries. After being left out of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, he chose to go pro.
Tonight is Kiwanuka’s professional debut and he could be lucky to face a fellow debutant—Kenyan David Karama—a late substitute after Obadiah Mwangi [4-7-1] pulled out due to medical issues.
“The journey to being a world champion begins tomorrow [tonight].” That journey is also too long but it’s not impossible.
“I’m ready for any opponent. I’m motivated. I have the best coach, the best management. I’m just ready to rumble,” said the mountain of a man, standing 6ft4.However, if Karama’s amateur record of 218-9 fights is genuine, it’s an ocean of ring experience compared to Kiwanuka, who only begun boxing in late 2014.