17 Boxers to represent Uganda at 2023 Africa Elite Championship in Cameroon

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David GOMBE

Uganda has named 17 boxers , 11 men and six women for the Big Party in Yaounde, Cameroon.

The team for the July 25 to August 6 $1,000,000 Africa Elite Men’s and Women’s Championships includes five internationals among them light-welterweight southpaw Joshua Takamuhebwa, the most successful Ugandan boxer at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Burmingham, England.

Takamuhebwa won two fights before losing 4-1 to Canada’s Wyatt Sanford in the quarter-finals, a defeat coach Patrick Lihanda said was skewed in favour of the Canadian boxer.

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“They were intimidated by his aggressiveness, they didn’t want an African to progress to the semi-finals,” said coach Lihanda.

In addition to Takamuhebwa, other internationals in the team are 2018 AFBC Youth Championships silver medallist Ukasha Matovu now fighting at welterweight, light-heavyweight Idriss Mukiibi, super-heavyweight Solomon Geko and female welterweight Emily Nakalem.

The rest of the 12 boxers will all be making their international debut in Yaounde.

Sensational 18-year-old City High School student who’s also the national featherweight champion Mulungi Kassim of East Coast Boxing Club has been preferred instead of Jonathan Kyobe, a bronze medallist in last year’s Africa Championships in Maputo, Mozambique. Middleweight bronze medallist in Maputo, Yusuf Nkobeza, is also not in the team.

The rest of the newcomers are minimumweight Joseph Kalema, lightweight Ssali Wasswa, light-middleweight Muzamir Semmud, middleweight Ronald Okello, cruiserweight Lawrence Kayiwa and super-heavyweight James Baraka. Women debutants are light-flyweight Grace Nakinga, bantamweight Naddia Najjeme, featherweight Sharua Ndagire, lightweight Zahara Nandawula and light-welter Erina Namutebi. Coaches are Twaib Mayanja and Ramadan Seguya.

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Explaining why they’ve given the newcomers a chance to prove themselves even leaving out the two bronze medallists in Maputo, the President of Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) Moses Muhangi said they’ve been very impressive in the Champions League, Uganda’s premier boxing competition.

“The bronze medallists in Maputo are okay but their replacements are always neck and neck with them whenever they fight, any could lose or win, the decision is always 3-2.

“So we find it imperative to expose as many boxers as possible instead of concentrating on a particular boxer, when he or she is not available you’re stuck as a nation.”

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Uganda finished joint 15th overall with Guinea in last year’s Africa Championships in Maputo each with two bronze medals.

Information courtesy of AFBC Communications Departmet

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