What you need to know:
- The toe-to-toe five-round bout that kept everyone in the thin crowd attentive was only interrupted by the slippery canvas that often sent the fighters tumbling.
Like coach Charles Ssemakalu had told Daily Monitor pre-fight, Derrick Mubiru’s power and determination proved the difference between two gifted featherweights in the most thrilling bout Saturday night in the Uganda Boxing Champions League at the MTN Arena-Lugogo.
At 8:43pm, the bell went and the more experienced Marvin Ssali unleashed clear hooks to Mubiru’s head and body, coupled with a stinging jab, which sent his noisy Bwaise crowds in a frenzy.
But Mubiru, donning his father Martin’s white trunks, retaliated with equally powerful combinations, mostly to the body. His Namungoona-Lubya crowd weren’t as lively but he behaved like a man on a mission.
The toe-to-toe five-round bout that kept everyone in the thin crowd attentive was only interrupted by the slippery canvas that often sent the fighters tumbling.
Often, ring minders and security personnel slid in towels and squeezers to dry the floor while action was going on. Sometimes, the referee was forced to pause fight.
Meanwhile, Mubiru committed two blatant errors for which Ssali’s fans hurled insults from the stands.
“Why don’t you have discipline, did your father fight like that? Do you think you’re the best?”
Just after the bell ended the third round, Mubiru hit Ssali with a heavy left on the right temple. Ssali went down, but instead of cautioning the aggressor, the referee counted for Ssali.
Toward the end of Round Five, Mubiru again hit Ssali when the referee was breaking them. Ssali stayed on the ropes, expressing pain. Instead, the ref counted him out and stopped the contest in Mubiru’s favour.
Ssali refused to hug his conqueror but Mubiru had no remorse, saying: “Marvin wasn’t smart himself but wanted me to be disqualified.”
He added: “He would have been the first to be penalised for head-butting me several times and my lips are hurting. And when I complained about him punching me below the belt in the first round, what did the ref do?”
Aciga Fula, the most qualified ring official in Uganda, who also officiated at the recent Tokyo Olympics, told Daily Monitor that a public warning or disqualification, comes when a boxer’s foul is deemed intentional.
“Derrick might have missed the instructions because of the noise in the arena,” he added.
Coach Ssemakalu lauded his boxer for following the blueprint, but he wanted an earlier stoppage.
“Marvin was lucky to survive beyond the third round,” he said.
Mubiru is now level with Jona Kyobe – his next opponent – atop the featherweight standings with six points.
SELECT FIGHT RESULTS
Derrick Mubiru bt Marvin Ssali
Isaac Ssenyange bt Richard Kasujja
Yusuf Nkobeza bt Denis Okello
Jalia Nali bt Sandra Attermo
Shalua Ndagire bt Phiona Kansiime