What you need to know:
- By 10:20pm the five judges unanimously scored it in favour of the blue corner, sending Nakimuli to her knees, mouth wildly open, in sheer ecstasy.
Teddy Nakimuli could become the first Ugandan woman to box at the Commonwealth Games after an emphatic victory over Jalia Nali during Week 13 of the Champions League at the MTN Arena-Lugogo Saturday night.
At the 2019 National Open, Nakimuli was the best female youth boxer. But a year later, the University of Pain boxer lost 3-2 to Catherine Nanziri in the national elimination ahead of the African Olympic Trials in Dakar, Senegal.
Nanziri advanced to become Uganda’s first female boxer at the Olympics as Nakimuli, ranked higher until that January 2020 encounter, pondered the might-have-been.
Women’s boxing was first allowed in the Commonwealth Games at the Glasgow 2014 edition and the Birmingham 2022 presents Nakimuli with a chance to write her own chapter of history.
“Missing the Olympics was such a setback,” Nakimuli admitted to this paper. “But I never stopped believing and working hard for the next opportunity.”
And against Nali in a flyweight bout that could decide who goes to Birmingham, Nakimuli was ruthless.
Slow, cautious start
As she warmed up for the main bout, doing some pad work with her coaches in the dressing room, her training mate Isaac Ssebuufu predicted her victory, even if “Nali has some favour” and has a height advantage.
“If Teddy takes the game to her, and fights from close range, Nali will be under pressure and surrender the reach advantage,” Ssebuufu analysed, almost perfectly.
The first round was boring: Nakimuli chasing, Nali jabbing but none had the speed and power to hurt. But in the second round, both returned psyched up and traded fast jabs and hooks.
Within seconds, Nakimuli proved decisive, landing rapid and hard shots to the head and to the body.
When she repeated it in the third, she looked as aggressive as she was in total control. But she never stopped hunting her opponent down. Nali stung her with a left and right in the fourth, but couldn’t do more.
By 10:20pm the five judges unanimously scored it in favour of the blue corner, sending Nakimuli to her knees, mouth wildly open, in sheer ecstasy.
The victor thanked her coaches and fans who gave her a psychological edge throughout the night.
“This huge victory is a team victory. I tried to do what we’ve been training,” she said.
History...The Kawere genes
Sometimes records are genetic. Tom Kawere won a silver at the Empire Games [now the Commonwealth Games], the first Ugandan to do so. Now his brother’s son, Eddie Kawere, could be the first to coach a Ugandan female boxer to the Games.
Boxing champions league
Guest Fight (deaf)
Ashraf Musanje 2:1:2 Huzaifa Mukiibi
Richard Kasujja 4:1 John Owino
Wakholi Habimana 5:0 Timothy Muwanguzi
Bob Turyatemba 5:0 Bruno Muwesi