KAMPALA- The decisive moment that knocked Umar Semata out of the Fight of the Century at Freedom City last weekend has become a can of worms, as some kickboxing federation officials accuse others of fixing Moses Golola’s victory.
From his red corner, Golola begun the third round strong, sticking to his punch-only strategy. Semata wanted to match him. Referee Abbey Kigozi stopped action and urged them to kick as well. Golola did not heed, and traded more blows. Golola seemed to win the exchange, his rapid shots pinning Semata to the ropes near his blue corner. Then the fateful moment: he wrestled Semata to the canvas and immediately knocked him with his left knee.
The ref stopped action. About five minutes of tension followed. Everyone wondering: is Semata giving up? Is he fighting on? Is Golola going to be penalised or disqualified?
In his corner, Semata kept shaking his head, in total dejection. By 12:51, Golola was announced winner.
Battle of opinions
Ring doctor Gerald Mpagi said: “I assessed him, he had a small wound on the lip and bleeding lightly. But he was conscious. I told him he can go on with the fight, he said ‘I can but I won’t because he has fouled me. That’s unacceptable,”
When Semata stepped Mugula in the chest in 2017, he was deducted points and the fight ended in a draw. At least Semata expected the same justice last weekend.
“But the federation decided to give Golola the win, it’s unfair. And Golola Moses, wherever you are I assure you the battle has just begun.”
National coach Sadat Yiga, who claims to know both fighters well, said, that wouldn’t stop Semata, a Muay Thai fighter. “Kicking is his weapon but he had already fallen in Golola’s trap by attempting to match him in punching. He couldn’t last the five rounds.”
But seasoned referee Charles Mugoya said declaring Golola the winner was a big blunder. “Golola did not win. He intentionally knocked his opponent when he was on the canvas, which is illegal in K1 fighting style.
“If I was in charge of that fight I would have disqualified him and declare Semata winner.”
Mugoya, who handled the first Semata-Golola fight, said he was also supposed to man this one but the federation interim president arbitrarily side-lined him to fix the result.
But Patrick Ruyoza, the federation president, refuted Mugoya’s allegations, concurring with the judges and fight supervisor that Golola’s act was accidental.
Mugoya claimed he was once forced to raise Golola’s hand when he actually had lost to an Egyptian. Ruyoza said: “If he’s professional ref, as he claims, how could he accept to do that?”
Mugoya is the federation publicity secretary but Ruyoza trashed claim to be the chairman of the referees. “He’s lying. Abbey Kigozi is the chairman of the referees,” he said.
CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
Semata beat Golola by decision
Golola beat Semata by TKO