Boxing Champions League: Nkobeza snatches ‘lucky win’

Take-home. Nkobeza (R) sends Okello staggering during their middleweight Boxing Champions League bout at Lugogo on Saturday. PHOTO/ISMAIL KEZAALA

What you need to know:

Many spectators: fans, media, boxers and club coaches would have settled for a draw, unanimously assessing that Nkobeza, the favourite, won the first two rounds but was only fighting for survival in the last three

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BY ABDUL-NASSER SSEMUGABI

Middleweight boxer Yusuf Nkobeza boosted his hopes of representing Uganda internationally for the first time with a “lucky” 4-1 win over Gulu’s Ronald Okello in the Uganda Boxing Champions League at the MTN-Arena, Lugogo, and Saturday night.

Many spectators: fans, media, boxers and club coaches would have settled for a draw, unanimously assessing that Nkobeza, the favourite, won the first two rounds but was only fighting for survival in the last three.

But the judges had other ideas: four gave Nkobeza the nod, with only one for Okello in the rematch after the first encounter in January ended in a draw due to Nkobeza’s injury.

“I’m disappointed in the result because I thought I had done enough to win but the judges saw it otherwise,” Okello told Daily Monitor post-fight.

Nkobeza is regarded the next big thing at Lugogo after his rivals David Ssemuju and Musa Shadir Bwogi – the 2020 Olympians – recently turned pro.

The hard-puncher is also believed to be hardened by battling the aforementioned boxers in different national competitions and as a sparring partner as the duo prepared for the Olympics.

Proving a point

But Okello, whose competition debut came in 2019 – three years after Nkobeza’s – wanted to prove that experience is overrated. After all, they shared the table top with four points apiece, after a win and a draw.

From the first bell, each desperate to prove the other wrong, threw heavy blows, landing some and missing others.

Nkobeza’s power was obvious and he could have stop the opponent within two rounds. But Okello weathered the storm and troubled Nkobeza in the last three rounds. Both had their turns in the doctor’s corner with bleeding.

And by 10:09, the more expected result looked to a draw. But to popular dismay, Nkobeza won 4-1. He lifted his opponent off the canvas in celebration but Okello wasn’t impressed.

“I will get him one day,” he said.

Nkobeza has stretched his lead to seven points, Okello four, while Rashid Yiga and another Okello (Denis) have a point apiece.

“I was working for the Commonwealth Games but now it doesn’t look easy,” Okello said.

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