What you need to know:
- That was a sign of victory after the southpaw from Kyengera Boxing Club had outclassed his welterweight archrival Ukasha Matovu in the Uganda Boxing Champions League’s Week 12 at the MTN Arena Lugogo Saturday night.
At 10:13pm, Owen Kibira went on his knees, prostrated twice, turned his head to the right, then to the left, as if he was concluding salah – the Muslim prayer.
That was a sign of victory after the southpaw from Kyengera Boxing Club had outclassed his welterweight archrival Ukasha Matovu in the Uganda Boxing Champions League’s Week 12 at the MTN Arena Lugogo Saturday night.
This was a rematch after a draw in their first league meeting in February. Surprisingly, only the third round – which Matovu might have won by a slim margin – reflected a match.
The rest was Kibira’s show of pace, power, passion and skill, no wonder all the five judges scored it in his favour.
“I started preparing for this fight a day after that draw,” Kibira told Daily Monitor after the victory that earned him a Shs1m cash token from Nakifuma County legislator Sulaiman Kiwanuka.
“I knew I wanted to be different and decisive in the rematch, because it meant so much to my career. And I dedicate this success to my coaching team.”
Indeed, Kibira was different, landing most of his punches with emphasis, and moving faster and wiser, to avoid danger.
Matovu did not throw enough punches and often missed the target for the uppercut to the head.
Matovu could even have been stopped in the first two rounds as Kibira unleashed a flurry of combinations to the head and body, without an answer, prompting two counts from the ref.
There were moments of drama as Kibira’s coach Juma Nsubuga, who was the MC, shouted “amulumye,” claiming Matovu had bitten his opponent, but it was the deep cut above Kibira’s right eye that the doctor treated at the end of the fight.
As Matovu disappeared into the dressing room, one of his fans shouted “batubbye” [they have cheated us] but that was a mere consolation, because the fighter himself admitted he did not do enough.
“I wasn’t in shape, I had some pain,” Matovu said in a post-match interview.
Even his coach Lawrence Kalyango admitted Kibira was better, adding that Matovu, who had been observing the Ramadan, was not fully fit.
“We learnt of this fight just two weeks ago; so Ukasha didn’t train enough because he was fasting,” he said.
Due to camp for the Commonwealth Games, Kibira attributed his progress partly to his experience as a sparring partner for the boxers that represented Uganda at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“I learnt a lot from that experience and I feel indebted to UBF president [Moses] Muhangi for such an opportunity.”
Matovu, whose only international assignment was at the African Youth Boxing Championships in Casablanca, Morocco in 2018, will have to rebuild again to redeem his career.
“Commonwealth isn’t the end of boxing. We shall resume training and wait for another chance,” said his coach.
Boxing Champs League
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Yusuf Nkobeza RSC 1 Rashid Yiga
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