Boxing

Boxing: Nabikolo to make Bombers debut at Mandela Africa Boxing Championships

Seven boxers have been selected to represent Uganda Bombers in Durban including four medallists in the Africa Championships in Yaounde and a bronze medal winner in Accra.

Uganda’s 19-year-old boxing sensation Fatuma Nabikolo has finally been capped.

Nabikolo will make her international debut in the inaugural Mandela African Boxing Cup tournament scheduled for Durban, South Africa, from April 15-21.

She’s the only newcomer in Uganda’s star-studded team of seven boxers – four women and three men – four of whom won medals at the 2023 Africa Championships in Yaounde, Cameroon where Uganda topped the East African countries with an impressive haul of two silvers and five bronze medals.

A senior three student and a member of Kololo High School Boxing Club, bantamweight Nabikolo has been in spanking form since 2019 when she was named the best boxer in the national schools boxing championships.

She’s the current novices, intermediate and national champion.

Among Nabikolo’s impressive victories this season include a unanimous points win over international boxer Najjemba Nadia whom she outpointed in the popular Uganda Champions League. It was her first victory over Nadia who had previously beaten Nabikolo a couple of times. She boxed behind a busy left jab, superb counter-punches, timely overhand rights and smart footwork to carry the day in the five-round bout.

So impressed is the flamboyant Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) President Moses Muhangi by Nabikolo’s ring artistry that he tips her to go all the way in Durban. Muhangi is the team manager of Uganda’s 18-member delegation.

“She’s the future of Uganda female boxing,” said Muhangi, the brains behind the introduction of the Champions League.

“Just like her fellow first timer Innocent Tumusiime did in Ghana by winning a bronze medal, she could even surpass that in Durban, watch out for Nabikolo in South Africa.”

The four Yaounde medallists in the team are silver medal winners, lightweight Ssali “Black Skin” Wasswa who’s the most experienced boxer in the team and light-welterweight Erina Namutebi. Welterweight Ukasha Matovu aka Morocco and women’s captain, footballer-turned-boxer Emily Nakalema, won bronze medals in Yaounde. Interestingly there’s no female coach in the team despite the women boxers being the majority.

Fast-rising African Games featherweight bronze medallist, southpaw Kassim Mulungi is also in the mix. He made his international debut last year in Yaounde at 18 years – the youngest member in the team – when he was a senior four student at City High School.

Sports journalist at FUFA TV, featherweight Ndagire Sharua Musa aka Pretty Devil, has been given another chance to prove herself having first represented Uganda in Yaounde last year, and was also in the African Games in Accra, losing on points to Nigeria’s eventual gold medallist Joy Ojo Nene.

The 18-member Uganda delegation:

Women
Bantamweight: Fatuma Nabikolo
Featherweight: Ndagire Sharua Musa
Light-welterweight: Erina Namutebi
Welterweight: Emily Nakalema

Men
Featherweight: Kassim Mulungi
Lightweight: Ssali Wasswa
Welterweight: Ukasha Matovu

Team manager: Moses Muhangi

Head coach: Patrick Lihanda assisted by Ibrahim Yaada, Daniel Musanje and Ibrahim Sekiziyivu.

Officials: Sandra Mutoni, Ruth Nakalema and Juma Kibirige

R&Js: Swamadu Kitunzi and Rudolf Abbas.

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