Matovu headlines Uganda-Burundi show

The ring at the Lugogo Indoor Arena has seen some good fights. PHOTO/COURTSEY 

What you need to know:

Middleweight Ronald Okello had stopped Ramadhan Nzeyimana but it lasted just a minute; then Richard Kasujja stopped light middleweight Nestor Nduwarugira. But none of these matched Matovu-Irakoze. 


The friendly matches between Ugandan and Burundi fighters had drawn bigger numbers to the MTN Arena-Lugogo Saturday, but it was the last bout of Week 25 of the Boxing Champions League that delivered real class.


Middleweight Ronald Okello had stopped Ramadhan Nzeyimana but it lasted just a minute; then Richard Kasujja stopped light middleweight Nestor Nduwarugira. But none of these matched Matovu-Irakoze. 

First, Ukasha Matovu's walk to the blue corner was a classic act as his fans from his Bwaise  hood teamed up with their rivals from Hoima Road, where he trains with Cobap Boxing Club, drummed and danced towards 10pm. 

The  welterweight appeared in ancient Greek fighter outfit as if he was Hercules. In the ring, he put off his helmet, drew his sword, rubbing it with  his hands, typically the way Greek fighters do in Hollywood movies. He was just ready to fight. 

Poor Rally Irakuze,  from Burundi, had three men to run him to the ring, already in his red ring attire. 

Time for business: the last time Matovu was here in May, he was a huge disappointment when he virtually gave the fight to his welterweight rival Owen Kibira and missed the Commonwealth Games. Now he had to prove he is back. 

And as if inspired by the brand names of his kit makers,  Attack and Sting, he really attacked with a sting. And quickly, his heavy stung Irakoze's jaw, sending him to the canvas. The fit Burundian jumped off the canvas. But Matovu was now sure his swords are sharp. 

Round Two: a few jabs, rights, feints and a ferocious left hurled Irakoze into the ropes, just before the jury's table. Matovu nodded as if he had finished the job. His fans sung "Ukasha"  "Ukasha." But surprise! Irakoze beat the ref's count, again, ready to fight on. And the bell gave him a longer break. 

But now, it seems his body disagreed  with his spirit. Because early in the third round a not-so-heavy left landed on his chest, and he fell clumsily on his left arm.

 And as he struggled on the canvas, guess who lifted him up? Matovu. "It's sport, not war," Matovu told Daily Monitor after that emphatic knockout victory. 

"I had promised my fans a good comeback, and I thank Allah for this." He commended his coaches and managers for all the efforts. Matovu will be back in a fortnight. 

UGANDA-BURUNDI MATCHES (SELECT RESULTS)

Zahara Nandawula beat Liliane Nsimirimana (BURUNDI)

Moussa Nimubona (BURUNDI) beat RONALD Gayita 

Wasswa Ssali beat Eric Mahatane (BURUNDI)

Ronald Okello beat Ramadan Nzeyimana (BURUNDI)

Richard Kasujja beat Nestor Nduwarugira (BURUNDI)

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