Schools boxing: Kololo, Bweyogerere seek glory despite restrictive bylaw

Thursday March 21 2019

By Abdul-Nasser Ssemugabi

Kampala. Defending champions Bweyogerere High School and runners up Kololo High School are plotting for glory at the 2019 National Schools Boxing Championship but enter the battle without their heroes last year.
Bweyogerere will dearly miss the services of champions Ali Kawooya (flyweight), Aaron Yiga (pin weight) and losing semifinalists Davis Muhwezi (bantamweight) and Spear Mulunga (light flyweight).
This follows a recent bylaw by the organising committee that bars boxers who reached the semifinal in the previous tournament to compete again this year.
“Of course we are champions and we want to defend our trophy, though we won’t have our best boxers according to the new law,” said Bweyogerere’s volunteer coach Herbert Kalungi.
“We also lack equipment. The school hasn’t supported us enough financially, but we shall try our best.”
Bweyogerere has no boxing history but thanks to youthful coach Kalungi, they have beaten traditional powerhouses like Kololo and Kampala High to the 2017 and 2018 trophies.
But Kololo’s coach Sam Kabugo wants to deny them a three-peat.
“Last year we won the girls’ trophy and finished second in the boys’. So we deserved the overall trophy if it was there. We shall most likely retain the girls’ trophy and try to win the boy’s too,” Kabugo, one of the many products of Kololo High vowed. “But due to the law we shall miss our best like Sulaiman Kiggundu and Joel ‘Pacquiao’ Mudenya.”
Dr Christopher Mbowa, who heads the tournament’s organising committee, said the bylaw seeks to open the gates for new entrants and produce more boxers for bigger tournaments like the Cadets.
“Like the best boxers in the say, the Cadets advance to the Intermediates, those who excel in the Schools must advance to the Cadets and leave the canvas for those who didn’t make the semis and new ones,” Dr Mbowa said.
“We don’t want a few boxers to dominate the tournament because every year a school can produce students in the same weight category.”
Exceptions prove rules. Some girls got medals after just one fight, because they did not have opponents. This is not good preparation for them to enter the Cadets. Dr Mbowa said coaches must be keen that “such girls must return to prove that they really deserved those titles.”
Over 35 schools are expected this Saturday and Kabugo expects “a tougher competition than last year’s. But we shall do our best.”