Boxing in Uganda continues to dwell in the lower echelons of society as the sport struggles to weave through the challenges that has inhibited its growth despite being among the most popular sport disciplines.
With huge stars defining generations in the boxing sphere, the current generation of boxers who seek to punch their way into the hall of fame have seen their careers even fail to take off.
The situation elsewhere on the continent and other parts of the world poses pretty much the same challenges. However, the narrative could be about to change.
The International Boxing Association for amateur boxing (AIBA) has taken steps to help the sport enhance its competitive level at amateur level while also becoming more accessible.
With societies still grappling with the effects of COVID-19, AIBA has extended its olive branch to member associations to ensure that boxing at amateur level starts to take flight once again.
Among the avenues being taken as resolved by a recent AIBA congress include extending financial support to their members through grants.
And with such, the Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) has been selected among the first beneficiaries of the AIBA grant which goes up to a tune of USD 20,000 (approx. 70 million) per Member Association.
According to UBF president Moses Muhangi, the grant which is progressive according to beneficiary performance is part of the fruits that the federation is bearing from holding credible international relations.
The grant will be used to help secure boxing equipment like glove and other protective gear and also repair the boxing rings that will be utilised for upcoming and future UBF events.
At a press brief on Monday, UBF unveiled the first batch of equipment that was procured and delivered through AIBA. The equipment included 62 pairs of boxing gloves, 10 punching bags, 62 pairs of punching pads, head gears, mouth guards plus groin and chest guards.
“We are proud to announce that through our strong links between UBF and AIBA, we have managed to secure a grant of up to USD 20,000 (approx. UGX 70 million),” Muhangi told media.
“This grant is part of an AIBA program designed through the AIBA congress to enhance the development of sport and remains accessible to everyone everywhere especially through the current times with the effects of the pandemic.”
UBF executive committee members showing off some of the equipment they received as part of their grant from AIBA | UBF photo
“Every Member Association is eligible for the grant and as UBF, we applied for the grant, and have been selected among the first beneficiaries of the program.”
“Out of the total grant, we proposed that we are supported with equipment and repair costs for the boxing rings which you know are in sorry state,” he added.
“The first batch of this grant that has been delivered which is up to USD 6000 (approx. UGX 21 million) worth of top of the range and internationally certified boxing equipment.”
“Part of the batch that we received include boxing gloves, punching bags and pads, protective gears like head gears, groin caps for the men and chest guards for women.”
“It is not every day that an international federation extends such support to federations at grassroots level and I want to extend a vote of thanks to AIBA president Umar Kremlev.”
“We pledge that the grant will be used to fulfil its purpose because we want to keep growing our relationship with AIBA and see that this grant can grow to over one million USD,” Muhangi continued.
A timely boost
“The grant is timely because we want to restart competitions and have planned a tentative program for the champions league,” Muhangi said.
“As an executive committee we have tentatively planned to hold the competition during the first week of December, however, between now and then we have to meet with different stakeholders and come up with the final program.”
The champions league is a boxing tournament that is geared towards according amateur boxers a chance to turn professional as they will have to play in matches of adjusted rounds from three to five.