Talk of picking a land title in your names. Ugandan female boxer Hellen Baleke got just that. The oldest among the Bombers will leave the African Games in Rabat, Morocco, with at least a bronze at after getting a bye to the semifinals.
Only seven boxers were entered in the women’s middleweight, leaving one without an opponent. And the lucky one was Baleke, aka Nnaalongo, who stormed the semis without breaking sweat.
In addition, Baleke, on her continental debut, will have a full week of resting as she awaits the winner between Ghana’s Ornella Sathoud and Morocco’s Khadija Mardi on Saturday. The same day Baleke’s colleague Jalia Nali faces Amondine Ndaratha of Central African Republic.
Three Ugandan men also got byes but all will have to compete in divisions different from the ones they expected. Champion Businge, the national light flyweight champion, will face Mozambique’s Juliano Maquina on Saturday but will need three more kilos to fit in the flyweight [52kg]. If Businge makes it he could face Kenya’s Shaffi Bakari, who Juma Miiro beat to win bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Bantamweight Masembe awaits the winner between Nigeria’s Yusuf Adenji Adisa and DR Congo’s Rocky Bukasa tomorrow. But by Saturday, he will need more kilos to fit in the featherweight [57kg] division.
Likewise, Joshua Tukamuhebwa, who went as a lightweight [60kg] will need three more kilos by Friday, when he faces today’s winner between Lesotho’s Chobosheane Mohlerepe and Mauritious’ Richarno Colin in the 63kg category.
Ssemuju in action
Walkovers aside, middleweight David Ssemujju will be the first Uganda to hit the ring against Mauritius’ Jean-Luc Rosalba today. It’s Ssemujju’s first time on the continent, while Rosalba got bronze at the 2015 African Games before appearing at the 2016 Olympics. Captain Musa Shadir Bwogi launches her medal quest tomorrow against Zambia’s Nkumbu Silungwe in the welterweight division.
And brace yourself for the battle of Solomons as Uganda’s Solomon Geko fights Nigeria’s Solomon Adebayo in a super heavyweight duel on Friday.
2019 African Games
Ssemujju vs. Rosalba [Mauritius] 75kg
Shadir vs. Silungwe [Zambia] 69kg
Geko vs. Adebayo [Nigeria] 91+kg