Defiant boxers could wait till May to enter Champions League

Sweet science. Ssemujju (R) is among the senior boxers demanding ‘respect.’ PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE

What you need to know:

  • The tournament is marketed as a semi-professional enterprise, with elite boxers fighting five rounds without vests.

National captain Musa Shadir Bwogi and 15 others were allowed to participate in the inaugural Uganda Boxing Champions League but could wait until May to test action.

The boxers were labelled ‘defiant’ for refusing to sign contracts with the Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF), which was a prerequisite to box in the Champions League.

They deemed the contracts “unfair and exploitative” and vowed to explore all avenues to regain their rights to play without coercion.

The tournament is marketed as a semi-professional enterprise, with elite boxers fighting five rounds without vests. And participants must be fit all year round.

But UBF’s promise on the boxers’ benefits was vague. The boxers petitioned the sports minister Hamson Obua, Uganda Olympic Committee athletes Commission and the National Council of Sports (NCS). 

And, on Friday, the eve of the much-hyped Champions League, UBF president wrote to NCS confirming that the renegades will be allowed to take part in the tournament.

“We did this for the good of boxing because those defiant boxers wanted the league to be cancelled,” Muhangi said in an interview Saturday night, adding that the technical committee will discuss how to draft the boxers back into action.

But Muhangi later said Bwogi and co. could fight in May 2022.
“It’s not over yet,” Bwogi told Daily Monitor. “We need to discuss the terms of our participation... let’s see what comes out of the Wednesday meeting.”

The league went on, with some thrilling bouts shown live on Sanyuka TV but Muhangi said in an interview that the defiant boxers’ images will not be shown anywhere to avoid legal implications regarding their image rights, which they refused to surrender to UBF, as the contract requires.

Such is Muhangi’s ‘commitment’ to avoid repercussions that videos shall be edited to cast a shadow on any of the defiant boxers in action.

“UBF will also not be in position to extend any third party benefits to the said boxers because of absence of any contractual obligations or commitments over the same,” Muhangi’s letter says.

About ...The Boxing Champions League

UBF says the league will cover the gap post-national events to keep the boxers fit and active.

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