What you need to know:
Forget his unanimous decision victory against Ghana’s Jessie Lartey in Dakar, in February 2020 that handed him the ticket to the Tokyo Olympics, this was a classic. The former national captain badly needed such a comeback after nearly six months without fighting and a futile return to amateur boxing that left him embarrassed.
Throughout his boxing career, which started when he was a child in Naguru, Musa Shadir Bwogi had a monkey on his back. But this time he shook it off, killed it.
It was meant to be his longest fight. But it turned out his shortest. Meant to be his toughest fight but it turned out his best and easiest victory.
Forget his unanimous decision victory against Ghana’s Jessie Lartey in Dakar, in February 2020 that handed him the ticket to the Tokyo Olympics, this was a classic.
The former national captain badly needed such a comeback after nearly six months without fighting and a futile return to amateur boxing that left him embarrassed.
Besides, his two professional victories were not very convincing. One against an aging friend, another, a narrow escape against a tough but anonymous debutant.
At 04:03 Sunday morning, Shadir entered the red corner sporting a red jacket, red beaded ski-mask only showing his eyes. He wore white Hilfiger socks, black boots, his red beaded trunks, with white patches on the sides, carrying his sponsors KCCA and Act Africa.
Majority of the packed MTN Arena crowd knew his strengths and limitations. Yet Shadir dictated that this time round fanatics, critics and neutrals leave with one impression: Shadir is deadly.
The southpaw was dangerous from the first bell. His right jab was fast, sharp and powerful. His left hook even more. In a brief engagement, he combined both, his left to the head staggered Magumba but didn’t fall.
Another combo crushed Magumba to the canvas. It was a rare scene, so bad he shouldn’t have continued. But he helped himself up and referee Abdul Kaddu Sabata gave him a second chance. But his body language wasn’t encouraging.
Soon, Shadir’s right knocked the wobbly Magumba’s usually steel left jaw, to the canvas. Again, he tried to help himself up, but fell flat on his back near Shadir’s red corner.
Meanwhile, Shadir was on the ropes in the neutral corner, thumping his chest, assured he had done it. Yes he had. And fantastically. In hardly two minutes.
His wild delight wasn’t even for the National Super Middleweight title. It was for thrashing a noisy and potentially dangerous chap in the simplest of ways.
His cornerman Hussein Khalil was not surprised though he had prepared his fighter for a marathon, not a sprint.
“I have never seen Shadir this fit and committed,” Khalil, the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games gold medallist, told Daily Monitor.
“We worked most on his endurance. In the last four weeks we made him spar 10 rounds each with a different opponent. At first, he struggled by the seventh, but gradually managed. And he was motivated. I told him ‘if you were like this for the Olympics, you were good for gold.’”
Shadir had walked to the ring alongside Eddy Yaweh’s Gira Tukiggale, and like its translation, he sealed it, without hesitation.
A freelance journalist prayed for a decisive Shadir victory and chanted, “This is King Shadir,” forgetting his worries when he found his Naguru friend posing for photos in the dressing room, while Magumba was warming.
Fans filled the ring, for minutes, hugging Shadir, one another, shouting. What a moment.
“This is what I promised you. I told you I wasn’t training for my previous opponents because I didn’t take them seriously. But I had to remind Magumba and whoever doubts me that Shadir is dangerous. I told you to expect a different Shadir,” Shadir said with a victorious smile.
If this was a wedding, as Magumba had called it, he admitted: “Omukazi agaanye…bibaawo,” that Shadir, the bride, had disowned him.
He said a fever weakened his legs. But most losers have excuses. Sources said he was knocked down even in sparring, days before.
Nursing his first pro loss after four straight knockout victories, Magumba wanted out of the ring but on the media request, he stayed in his blue corner as Shadir wallowed in self-praise. Then Magumba asked for a rematch. But Shadir has bigger plans.
“I am now targeting the ABU continental title. My ultimate dream is to be Uganda’s next world champion after Kassim Ouma,” Shadir said.
SELECT BOUTS ON NARA PROMOTIONS CARD
Musa Shadir vs Ivan Magumba (national super middleweight title, 10RDS)
John Sserunjogi def. Cisse Muhindo (DRC), UD
Mercy Acayo def. Sandra Attermo (National Super flyweight title), UD
Nasser Bukenya def. John Egesa (cruiserweight), KO
John Katongole def. Moses Kakya (featherweight), KO
Musisi def. Fahad Rajab, TKO
Kawagga Bamweyana TD (injury) Richard Olanya