What you need to know:
The event organised by Gloves & Glory, was aimed at commemorating legendary national coaches Musa Kent and Dick Katende, who died in 2011 and 2016 respectively
2019 African Games silver medalist Isaac Masembe and former national welterweight Andaman Daku lived up to the hype at the star attractions, with terrific knockouts at the KK Memorial event inside the MTN Arena-Lugogo last night.
The event organised by Gloves & Glory, was aimed at commemorating legendary national coaches Musa Kent and Dick Katende, who died in 2011 and 2016 respectively.
In the main competitive fight Masembe, who represented UPDF Boxing Club, dominated before stopping lightweight Jimmy Adriko in the third round sparking emotional celebrations from the crowds.
Masembe should have had a harder challenge had he faced Frank Muhiire but the familiar foe pulled out citing an injury forcing the organisers to find a substitute about a week to the event.
Yet, perhaps due to ring rust having last fought in early October, Masembe wasn’t at his very best. Nevertheless, he was the best fighter of the night with some moments of electrifying combinations to the opponent’s body and to the head.
In the first round, a heavy left to the jaw sent Adriko to the canvas in what looked like the end of the bout. Adriko rose and fought again but he never survived a similar siege inside Masembe’s red corner early in the third round.
The ref stopped the fight to protect the underdog from further punishments.
Meanwhile, the expectant fans had to wait a little longer wondering why Daku was not coming out of the dressing room as the clock ticked to 11pm.
This time it wasn’t money matters. But it was politics as the organisers dealt with an alleged directive from Moses Muhangi, the Uganda Federation (UBF) president that Daku won’t fight until he sends him a video apologizing for rebuking Muhangi on social media.
It took over 30 minutes as tempers flared in the VIP section which had celebrities, former boxers, UPDF officials and the Uganda Professional Boxing Commission (UPBC).
Eventually, UPBC president Salim Uhuru, sensing violence from the fans if the fight was cancelled, ordered that it should go on, “no matter what.”
The UBF referees and judges, smartly clad in their black pants and white tops, left the stage, fearing retribution from their boss Muhangi. Uhuru’s team, albeit in their casual attire, took over.
And when it eventually happened, Daku, who walked to the ring animated and dancing to Chameleone’s Owakabi, ended it in just a minute—knocking out Briton Marcus Warry with a heavy left hook to the chin.
Warry, a Tyson Fury admirer, collapsed like a banana tree felled by a violent wind. Unlike his idol, who takes his time on the canvas when knocked down, Warry rose immediately but his wobbly legs couldn’t convince the ref. End of bout.
“It would have been the worst feeling if the fight was cancelled,” said Daku, who left Uganda in 2002. “But it’s so nice that I finally made it and won in style.”
Early Tuesday, Daku posted a video alleging that he had been arrested at Entebbe Airport on arrival from Amsterdam, Netherlands. He would be released hours later after the intervention of Kampala Central legislator Muhammad Nsereko, which fuelled suspicions among Opposition circles that Daku, who was radical critic of the NRM government on social media, had been compromised. Daku denies those allegations.
To Muhangi, Daku said: “We should take politics out of boxing if we really wish this sport well.” Eddie Bazira, the chief organiser, agrees.
Earlier, Yoweri Rugamba, was the highest bidder, buying Kent’s portrait at Shs550,000 and Katende’s at Shs300,000 on behalf of Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, commander of the ground forces.
Daku KO Warry
Masembe KO Adriko
Oja KO Aloy
Katongole bt Sekabira