KAMPALA. Lukanga and Sparks Boxing Academy enter today’s final of the National Juniors Boxing Championship as clear favourites to lift the title of a tournament marred by match-fixing allegations.
Both have four boxers in the final with Lukanga leading on 25 points, Sparks 22.
Sparks coach Herbert Kalungi has a score to settle against Lukanga. He is one of many accusing Lukanga of foul play to win the trophy.
“We are a young team but we are challenging Lukanga. And we shall show them our might,” Kalungi told us after the semis Thursday.
Najib Mulondo of Najja B.C did not fight Sparks’ Ali Kawooya, who walked over to the final but did not get the two points like other semifinal winners. Kalungi alleges Mulondo was blocked by Lukanga.
Same day, Michael Obwiny of Kadiba B.C knocked down Zebra’s Juma Mike. He looked the better boxer but lost the welterweight bout. His coach Mahmood Kajoba said it was influenced by Lukanga whose boxer Arafat Sembatya had just reached the final. He petitioned UBF to reverse the result, he said, after paying Shs100,000. By press time he was waiting for the verdict.
But Lukanga’s manager Isaac ‘Zebra’ Ssenyange was equally accusing the officials of bias.
That said, Kalungi’s highest hopes are in Kawooya aka Malala, who faces Katwe’s John Musisi in the 54kgs category and Aaron Yiga who vies for light flyweight gold against A&B’s Shafik Lusonjo. Kawooya and Yiga are unbeaten champions of schools boxing 2017 and 2018 before they were technically locked out of the 2019 edition by a bylaw.
But one of the decisive duels is between Sparks’ Kevin Sekidde and Lukanga’s Shafick Sentamu.