Boxing: First Lady boosts East African champions with Shs10m

Good times ahead. Commissioner Mugumya (left) handed over the cash to UPBC at the event. PHOTO / ABDUL-NASSER SSEMUGABi

What you need to know:

  • With such gusto, Ssebute, who was the main fighter of the evening and expected a tougher challenge, finished off Tanzania’s Juma Mwalugo in barely two minutes of the first round to retain the East and Central Africa super flyweight title.

Sergeant Abdu Ssebute entered the ring at the Bombo Military Grounds Friday evening invigorated and cocksure that at least his contractual purse was guaranteed after his promoter received Shs10.6m from First Lady Janet Museveni.

With such gusto, Ssebute, who was the main fighter of the evening and expected a tougher challenge, finished off Tanzania’s Juma Mwalugo in barely two minutes of the first round to retain the East and Central Africa super flyweight title.

Since winning that title in 2019, Ssebute had been out of action, especially due to Covid-19 disruptions and was happy for such a comeback.

“I thank God for this victory that brightens my chances to contest for the African title,” Ssebute told Daily Monitor.

“I also thank our First Lady for this financial support… I wish she becomes our permanent sponsor, as we pursue big dreams.”

Those dreams include continental titles and contesting in Europe and US.

That hope isn’t in vain after Rev Can Duncans Mugumya, commissioner for physical education and sports at the ministry, who was the guest of honour, said Mrs Museveni – also the Education and Sports minister – was aware of the financial need in the sports sector and pledged more support.

Nara Promotions’ Hussein Babu went home a relieved man after settling all the 14 boxers’ contractual obligations and sorting all the officials and service providers.

“I can’t thank the First Lady enough for this timely boost and we strongly believe she will be part of our bigger ventures,” Babu said. 

Babu wants Ssebute and Musa Ntege, who stopped Tanzanian Imani Kawaya in Round Seven, to win the East and Central Africa cruiserweight title, to contest for the African titles before the end of 2022.

However, Ssebute, who has represented Uganda at the Africa and World Military Games, is still hoping that President Museveni answers his prayer for money to buy seven acres of land to establish a school.

“The President warmly welcomed my request and in early 2020 someone told me on the phone that the money had been released but two years later I have never received a single coin. Whatever happened…but I still hope,” Ssebute.

Col John Ssemanda, director of sports in UPDF, also said that the army tries to promote sports through identifying and nurturing talents but “we can’t do much because we lack a boxing gym.”

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