Dejected Bombers ponder uncertain ‘activity’ future

Sweet Science.  Ugandan female Bomber  Nanziri  (L) went into her bout against Tsukimi Namiki confident that her superior reach would make the jab a handy scoring weapon. Namiki, 21, however used her ring craft to demonstrate — with such absurd ease - that a shorter reach fighter can outbox a longer reach fighter. The Ugandan unanimously lost 5-0. PHOTO /AFP

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  • In contrast, their running counterparts are chasing dollars in the Diamond League events in America and Europe.

ABDUL NASSER SSEMUGABI
The three boxers who represented Uganda at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo are dejected and uncertain about their next course of action.
Captain Musa Shadir Bwogi, David Ssemuju and Catherine Nanziri all lost instantly in Tokyo and returned secretly before the Games ended. Before the Games, the three had last fought in February 2020, and after Tokyo, they are not sure what next. Ssemuju and Shadir had ambitions to turn professional, but most likely not in Uganda.
But now that they are back home, they could be back to square one.
“I wish they could get serious promoters there and begin their professional journey from Japan,” Sero Addes, Ssemuju’s trainer told us after the middleweight lost to Algerian Youness Nemouchi.
It did not happen because the following day Ssemuju was on the plane back to Uganda.
“I don’t know what’s next but I hope for the best. Maybe my coach knows better,” Ssemuju told us on the phone. The only serious event the Bombers can count on is the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, but that will come a full year after the Olympics.

In contrast, their running counterparts are chasing dollars in the Diamond League events in America and Europe. And the swimmers, though not in lucrative business, are looking up to national events and the world championships between October and November.

Shadir and Ssemuju were either tightlipped or unsure about whether they shall go professional or stay in the unpaid ranks. “I can’t tell you anything when nothing has materialised. So I’m crossing my hands that I get the best way out.”

Waiting for CWG
Nanziri did not pick our repeated calls but her manager Akram Yiga told us the management has plans to turn the boxer professional, but after the Commonwealth Games.

“If she gets a chance to represent at Birmingham it will enhance her CV, as she goes pro,” Yiga told Daily Monitor.
Meanwhile, the Bombers unanimously blamed their average performance at the Olympics on the many months of inactivity, but mostly the four weeks of isolation in Japan when one of their two coaches tested positive for covid-19 on arrival at Tokyo’s Narita airport.

“We were locked up and did nothing for over a month, we just couldn’t compete when the Games reached.”

HISTORY OF OLYMPICS

BOMBERS WHO LOST INSTANTLY
Athens 2004
Jolly Katongole
Brian Mayanja
Sadat Tebazaalwa 
Joseph Lubega

Sydney 2000
Muhamed Kizito
Jackson Asiku 
Abdu Tebazalwa
Kassim Napa Adam 

Georgia 1996
Franco Angetho
Charles Kizza  

Barcelona 1992
Fred Mutuweta 
Davis Lusimbo 
Godfrey Wakaabu  

CHRONOLOGY

Ugly History Lasts. Ronald Serugo (2008 and 2016), Kennedy Katende (2016) also failed to win a single bout for Uganda at the Olympics in 17 years.

The last such victory was scored by lightweight Sam Rukundo against Puerto Rico’s Alexander de Jesús in the Round of 16 contest at Athens 2004.

Yet Tokyo 2020, Rio 2016 and Beijing 2008 are not the only embarrassing campaigns. They just add to the equation that has denied Uganda, once a boxing powerhouse, an Olympic medal since 1980. Between Seoul 1988 and 2004 Uganda has sent nine boxers to three Olympic editions, all losing their first and only bout.

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