Bombers captain 'must defeat' Romanian opponent

Joshua Tukamuhebwa is punching ever closer to Paris. PHOTO/COURTSEY 

What you need to know:

Tukamuhebwa exhibited admirable urgency against Garcia, until the referee stopped their bout in round three.

After his first victory at the 1st World Olympic Qualifiers in Busto Arsizio, Italy, Uganda’s national boxing captain Joshua Tukamuhebwa needs three more wins to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

All semifinalists in the men’s seven weight categories qualify for Paris. But such is the cruelty of open boxing that a boxer is as good as their current bout: win or go home.  

That is why after defeating Guatemala’s Edgar Garcia, in the Men’s 63.5kg Round of 64 bout on Tuesday, Tukamuhebwa must be as dominant against Robert Eusebiu Jitaru on Friday.

Tukamuhebwa exhibited admirable urgency against Garcia, until the referee stopped their bout in round three.

Earlier on, Jitaru had produced a dominant 5-0 victory against Namibian Elifas Shailemo and perhaps got a clue on African fighters. Tukamuhebwa was also watching him.

“I watched him fight. And I know something about him,” Tukamuhebwa told Daily Monitor via WhatsApp yesterday.

“He is versatile, he changes from orthodox to southpaw. But I think I am tall and stronger than him,” the Ugandan southpaw said. (Jitaru stands 5′ 5½″).  “I must defeat him.”

As per boxrec, the most renowned boxing database, Jitaru has 22 wins (5KOs) and 15 losses, but Tukamuhebwa who has 11 wins (5KOs) and five losses, ranks higher. The Romanian ranks 458 out of 2,747 super lightweights in the world while the Ugandan ranks 183 out of 2,747 globally.

Out of the 68 African boxers, 34 have already been eliminated, including Ghana’s 2020 Olympic Games bronze medalist Samuel Takyi, and Tukamuhebwa’s tormentor Louis Richarno, the multiple Olympian from Mozambique.

Meanwhile, revenge is on the cards as Emily Nakalema faces familiar foe Ivanusa Gomes Moreira in the Women’s 66kg Round of 32. Nakalema defeated Moreira at the 2020 African Olympic Qualifiers in Dakar but when they met again in the semifinals of the 2023 African Confederations Boxing Championships in Yaounde Cameroon, Moreira won.

In Italy, both, like most in this category, got byes but each must prove herself in pursuit of the semifinals and an Olympic ticket.

Olympic qualifiers 


Men’s 63.5kg Round of 64


Men’s 63.5kg Round of 32

Joshua Tukamuhebwa vs. Robert Jitaru (Romania)


Women’s 66kg Round of 32

Emily Nakalema vs. Ivanusa Moreira