Babu is back…

Babu lands the perfect punch on Muhumuza. PHOTO/MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI 

What you need to know:

As the ref stood amid both fighters, waiting for the judges’ verdict, Babu, smiling stubbornly, told Muhumuza “Okakasizza? (have you felt me?).

At first, this heavyweight bout—the co-main event on 12 Sports Rounds Promotions fightcard—was a dirty fight: heavy miscalculated shots, handling, pushing, a bit of wrestling, and “break,” shouted the referee.

The spectators, mostly loyal to the red corner, and had waited in the MTN Arena for over 10 hours, knew Yusuf Babu could do much better. “Don’t fight with him,” they shouted. But Babu wasn’t listening.

Hudson Muhumuza, a veteran, determined to punish “this talkative, disrespective boy,” swung his left, with all the rage. Missed. He must thank the ropes that held him. Immediately, he swung his right, with the same rage.

Missed again, this time pouring his 115kg body, flat on the canvas, face down. Soon, his white trunks were stained with blood. A deep cut showed in Babu’s right eyebrow. Both had paid for fighting with their hearts, not their brains.

Round Two was boxing. Babu, 11kg lighter, knew the early knockout he had vowed on social media wouldn’t come easy. He had to hit, move. Jabbed, first to Muhumuza’s rotund tummy, then a right to the head, and sometimes a left. Moved.

Muhumuza, his right eye turning red, endured, his guard up, waiting to strike, mostly to the head. He swung. Missed. Sometimes he hit the target. But Babu’s jaw is made of steel. Same stuff in third and fourth rounds.

But early in the fifth, came Muhumuza’s best shot of the night. A heavy right hook on Babu’s unguarded left chin crashed him to the canvas.

Punished but undiminished, Babu beat the ref’s protection count. He even managed to showboat, through the sixth round, smiling, bending forth, and backwards when Muhumuza cocked.

As the ref stood amid both fighters, waiting for the judges’ verdict, Babu, smiling stubbornly, told Muhumuza “Okakasizza? (have you felt me?).

By 5:12am, Haruna Ssozi, the radio journalist and ring announcer, who nicknamed Babu Rolling Tiger, in his last bout in February 2019, announced a unanimous decision victory for Babu. A glorious comeback after out-of-the-ring trouble, a grand entry into professional boxing.

“It’s has been a great comeback for me. I can’t believe I have done it. The guy was heavier than me by 30kgs but that’s the game. I thank Allah and whoever supported me. It’s been a mountainous climb,” a sweating Babu said post-match.

“He was much stronger, I was wiser. Otherwise, if I wasn’t moving and hitting with speed, it would have been harder to win.”

But the loser complained. “I landed stronger punches and knocked him down. That’s what wins in pro boxing, but the organisers had to favour their boy,” said Muhumuza, heavily breathing from his sixth loss in 12 bouts. A rematch? “Maybe if I’m the organiser.”

But Babu is already thinking ahead: “December 26, I’m going for the national title. Nicholas Buule, you’ve seen what you’re daring. God willing,  see you then.”


David Ssemuju def. KO Herbert Mugarura, TKO 2nd


Yusuf Babu def. Muhumuza Hudson, Heavyweight, UD

Kamada Ntege def. Charles Kakande, Light heavy, KO, 2nd

Saul Male def. Abdul Njego, Light heavy, UD

Paul K. Kasumali def. Ibra Mukiibi, Welterweight, UD

Isaac Ssebuufu def. Patrick Tokeema, Light welter, TKO, 4th

Swalik Kisitu def. Farouk Luwuliza, UD