He showed enormous resilience, beating the count twice—in the first and fourth rounds
Uganda’s Joseph ‘Joe Vegas’ Lubega showed the fruits of three months of hard work on the roads and in the gym as he oozed sheer class and freshness to win the Universal Boxing Organization World Cruiserweight title Sunday.
Lubega, coached by elder brother Charles Ssemakalu, needed only five of the 12 designated rounds to clinch his first title since he lost the WBC-International belt in 2014.
The former national captain looked match-fit and composed as he chopped almost every inch of his opponent’s upper body right from the first bell. Tanzania’s Karama Nyilawila was also up to the task dodging some of Lubega’s shots and landing his own but Lubega’s left hook was venomous.
Nyilawila, who won the WBF World Middleweight Title in Prague in 2010, was determined to give the scanty fans a genuine show and make Lubega work harder for silverware.
He showed enormous resilience, beating the count twice—in the first and fourth rounds—when Lubega’s left hook sent him to the canvas.
“The guy is hard,” the fans would say. “This one is serious,” in stark contrast to Nyilawila’s Tanzanian colleague Omari Ramathan who surrendered to just one serious punch from Muhammad Ssebyala in the first round of the super welterweight undercard.
At the end of the fifth round, Lubega changed his ammunition, this time packing a thunderous right hook that staggered Nyilawila to the ropes near his blue corner.
It was the nearest spot to safety and though he rose just before the bell—much to the revellers’ wonderment—he retired in the interval.
Lubega jumped to the ropes, like WWE superstars, in jubilation. It was 12:36 in a chilly Sunday morning, at the Lugogo Hockey Grounds but both bodies were oozing volumes of steam, testament to the intensity of their encounter.
“This is a great moment for me,” Lubega, 36, said as beads of sweat rolled down his face. “I was born to be a champion. And here I am. And this isn’t a jubilant exit, it’s just the beginning of another phase of rejuvenation as you will find out soon.”
The collaboration of A&B Promotions, Fenon Events and other partners brought “Las Vegas to Kampala”. The lighting, sitting arrangement, sound, four giant screens and entertainment were all first class.
Only the turn up disappointed on a truly beautiful night.