Winners fight through the pain - Juuko

Monday December 30 2019

Miiro (L) got the feel of Juuko’s Auckland gold

Miiro (L) got the feel of Juuko’s Auckland gold medal. PHOTO BY ABDUL-NASSER SSEMUGABI 

By Abdul-Nasser Ssemugabi

Fifty eight fights and 328 rounds of professional boxing across four continents, Juuko is one of the most experienced fighters Uganda has ever produced. After winning Commonwealth gold at Auckland 1990, the boy from Masaka won reputable titles but all did not come in perfect situations. Actually many are products of sacrifice and improvisation.

“Sometimes you have to fight through the pain,” Juuko said relating his story to that of Juma Miiro, whose career somehow stalled since he won bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, due to injury. “After winning bronze, you should be gunning for gold now…you gotta be back fighting.”

“In one of my earlier title fights I fractured four bones in my right hand. I nearly quit boxing but Mike McCallum, the guy I call my mentor, convinced me otherwise. He asked me whether a one-eyed man can be called blind. He made me believe that I can still box with one arm. “That’s how I returned to the ring and won most of the fights with my jab, because I perfected it. But no one realised it.”

After scooping that bronze medal, Miiro imagined himself in a professional career abroad, perhaps better than his East Coast compatriots Nassir Bashir and Reagan Ssimbwa, who disappeared in Gold Coast.

But since returning home, Miiro has been on the fringes, the most notable moment being the KO he suffered in the trials for the African Games in May.

Juuko, a World Boxing Council International Super Feather champion added: “Injuries are like losses. They are part of sport. They come and go. But winners find a way of rising again. Those who advise you to give up when you lose or injured are the losers. Winners never quit."

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“Muhammad Ali, the world’s greatest, lost about five times. Mike Tyson also lost but the guys who beat them are not known," he added.

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