How improved Babu staved off tough Masumbuko

Babu celebrates his victory against Masumbuko. PHOTO/ABDUL-NASSER SSEMUGABI 

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On his pro debut against Hudson Muhumuza, in mid-October, Babu also won by unanimous decision but endured a deep cut on his right eyebrow after a dirty brawl in the very first round.

An improved Yusuf Babu staved off the Tanzanian strongman Alphonce Masumbuko aka Mchumiatumbo by unanimous decision in his second professional bout.

At the end of the thrilling eight-round heavyweight contests, inside the MTN Arena-Lugogo Saturday morning, both huge bodies evaporated sweat but no cuts, bruises or swellings, partly because it was a smart combat battle where dirty stuff like head-butts and elbows were not part of the weaponry.

On his pro debut against Hudson Muhumuza, in mid-October, Babu also won by unanimous decision but endured a deep cut on his right eyebrow after a dirty brawl in the very first round.

Muhumuza also knocked Babu down in the fifth of six rounds, which Masumbuko did not manage in eight rounds. Yet Masumbuko was a tougher opponent than Muhumuza. He had power, a good build, an assortment of skills, good game reading and a reputation of having knocked out a Ugandan in just two minutes. He was shorter but often jabbed Babu’s body before aiming his thudding right for the head.

Babu’s ability to control such opposition and win: 79-74; 80-72 and 80-72 is proof to his improvement in three months.

At 97kg, Babu was three kilos heavier than he was against Muhumuza, and two kilos heavier than Masumbuko. (Muhumuza was 115kg). But like Babu’s sparring partner Isaac Masembe observed during training, his hands were faster.

He jabbed well and often, and his lateral body movements were on point, often pulling away his torso whenever Masumbuko aimed to strike, especially in those close-range exchanges.

“My defense was better as I had promised after my first fight,” Babu said. “I was moving well and faster, not allowing him to hit me. If only I had more power I would have stopped him.”

Masumbuko was dangerous whenever he pinned Babu on the ropes, rocking him with that left and a heavy right hook. It was more evident in the seventh round. But Babu clenched him to survive the siege.

“Those things happen in boxing. Sometimes he applied a lot of pressure and I didn’t have a quick escape plan. That’s why sometimes I handled him as I thought my way out of danger.

“My coaches must have seen my performance and know the areas we must improve.”

Babu’s immediate target is having more such tough fights to build his pro record before vying for the continental and world titles.

“So I will resume training as I wait for a deal from my promoters,” said the boxer under 12 Sports Rounds Promotions.

The always provocative Babu once more dared former national heavyweight champion Nicholas Buule, his anticipated opponent before Masumbuko came into the picture.

Meanwhile, Dubai-based Musa Batantu edged Ignatius Onyango in the main fight of the night dubbed Uganda vs Dubai, courtesy of Big Bang Promotions.

Batantu defied his height deficit to often sneak his right hand into Onyango’s face, to score valuable points. Batantu also showed exciting ring craft, especially whenever his back was against the ropes, dodging Onyango’s flurry of shots aimed for the head. No wonder, at the end of the six rounds, his face was clean while Onyango’s left eye was swollen.

“I thank the fans and whoever has made this event possible. Let’s do it again,” said Batantu, who is among the event’s promoters.

History was also made when Cuban super featherweight Dayan Gonzalez scored a terrific first-round knockout against Ugandan Zubairi Nadhomie in the undercards. This was Gonzalez’s eighth win since January 2022, his sixth KO and his second against a Ugandan.

Among other thrilling bouts, another Dubai-based Ugandan Abdul-Aziz Ssebulime, alias InnoLee DeHitman, won a split decision against Nicolas Musimami in the lightweight eight-rounder.


Musa Batantu vs Ignatius Onyango (light heavy)

Yusuf Babu vs Alphonce Mchumiatumbo (Heavyweight)

InnoLee DeHitman def. Nicolas Musimami

Dayan Gonzalez KO. Zubairi Nadhomie

Ali Sserunkuma def. Ahmed Daku

Swalick Kisitu KO. Johnson Walubu

Moses Katende def. Simon Shagi