Muhangi absence fails meeting with defiant boxers

Sweet science. Ssemujju (R) is among the senior boxers demanding ‘respect.’ PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE

What you need to know:

  • Majority of the boxers, who had qualified for the event, signed but about 16, including the three who represented Uganda at the recent Olympics in Tokyo, declined.

The Wednesday meeting between the Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) and the boxers, who refused to sign contracts with the federation failed due to the absence of UBF president Moses Muhangi.

The contracts were a prerequisite to play in the inaugural Uganda Boxing Champions League, which is marketed as a semi-professional boxing enterprise.

Majority of the boxers, who had qualified for the event, signed but about 16, including the three who represented Uganda at the recent Olympics in Tokyo, declined, calling the contracts “unfair and exploitative.”

The boxers petitioned the sports minister Hamson Obua, Uganda Olympic Committee athletes Commission and the National Council of Sports (NCS). And after a crisis meeting last Friday, the eve of the Champions League, Muhangi wrote to NCS confirming that the petitioners shall be allowed into the tournament.

The 2pm meeting at UBF offices in Lugogo, could have discussed among others, when and how the renegades can be drafted back into the league fixtures.

The boxers went to Lugogo but refused to discuss the matters with UBF general secretary Simon Barigo, insisting they needed to talk to Muhangi.

“They refused to listen to someone delegated by the president as if their issue is with Muhangi not UBF,” Phillip Munaabi, who laboured to engage the boxers in the meeting, told us.

Munaabi is also fronted as the CEO Top Boy Promotions, the company running the Champions League.

The boxers were also divided in opinion. “Personally, I felt the president avoided us intentionally, but maybe we could have given the GS a chance to explain,” one boxer who attended the meeting told us on the phone. “I think we should have discussed the agenda before we went to Lugogo.”

Munaabi said another meeting could be held on the matter.

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