Promoter labels Argentine boxer a cheat

Face Off. Kiwanuka (L) dares Insaurralde. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Fabian never landed a single blow. Kiwanuka celebrated the easiest pro win, shouting visu vinakata [the swords are lethal]. But here, the swords didn’t need to be lethal.

Shafik Kiwanuka’s first-round victory over Argentine Nestor Fabian Insaurralde has provoked more ridicule than admiration from boxing followers—for obvious reasons.

The fans who left the International University of East Africa auditorium in Kansanga Saturday past 3am, had enjoyed some serious boxing courtesy of Ivan Magumba, Joshua Male, etc, but were disappointed by the main fight, a contest for the Universal Boxing Council (UBO) intercontinental heavyweight title.

The fight basically ended in just a minute and 20 seconds as Fabian gave up, before conceding a serious shot.

In fact, the first warning of shame was when the Argentine fell to his knees, just 20 seconds before Kiwanuka’s gloves touched him.

Soon, Kiwanuka’s not-so-strong rights to the head sent Fabian to the canvas in the neutral corner. When the chubby Argentine got up, Kiwanuka landed another right to the head, and Fabian corner threw a towel, just when referee Simon Katongole ended the fight.

Fabian never landed a single blow. Kiwanuka celebrated the easiest pro win, shouting visu vinakata [the swords are lethal]. But here, the swords didn’t need to be lethal.

Fake opponent?

Social media trolled the victor and his promoters. In defense, they drew Tyson into the argument. But while Tyson’s fights were about the winner’s ruthlessness, Kiwanuka’s victory was more about the loser’s unwillingness to fight.

But was Fabian fake? Going by records—32 fights, 16 wins, 15 losses [15KOs] and one draw, according to boxrec, the official boxing database—he is legit.

But how ready was he? First Kiwanuka was preparing for Giorgi Kopadze, but the Georgian pulled out. The Great Strikers promoters agreed with Fabian, whose last fight was in April 2018, which DR Congo’s Rocky Kaleng won by TKO in six of the 10 rounds in Kinshasa to clinch the UBO International Heavyweight Title.

Actually, there were even fears that promoter Emmanuel Mwesigwa had repeated the blunder he did in 2013 when he pitted his upcoming heavyweight Kenneth Odeke against Sayed Nasab Abbas. Sometimes records are deceptive because, according to boxrec, Abbas was Odeke’s fourth pro opponent, while it was the Iranian’s debut. Actually, it would be his only pro fight.

But the Iranian thumped Odeke and the spectators at Kati Kati Restaurant faulted the promoter for such a blunder. The Ugandan did not survive the sixth of eight rounds. And despite winning his next three bouts in 2014, Odeke, now in the UK, has never fought again.

Fabian a cheat?

Four years without fighting is not too long. Thamsanqa Dube, the first opponent to last the distance with Kiwanuka, had not fought since 2011, as per boxrec. How then does a man travel nearly 10,000km from Argentina to lose a fight in Kampala in such an ignominious fashion?

Great Strikers promoters neither answered nor returned our calls. But one promoter told Daily Monitor: “I can’t blame Mwesigwa because a promoter wants an opponent who will stage a good fight; not one who’ll destroy his fighter.

“But Nestor was a cheat; he didn’t come to fight, he just came for the dollars.”

In fact, Fabian told a reporter post-match that he is 49, almost retired.

Kiwanuka’s future

Some claim such fights will kill Kiwanuka’s career. But Mwesigwa retorted that last month, South African Chris Thompson, who drew with Kiwanuka in October 2021 in Tanzania, won the Africa Boxing Union title.

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