By Richard Ndagije
The Uganda Boxing Federation has been ranked the best performer amongst all the sports federations in Uganda according to the Uganda National Council of Sports Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Report 2021/22, scoring 36/36.
Boxing has always been Uganda’s premier sport, which saw the rise of great boxing sportsmen like; John Mugabi aka Beast, Benson Masanda, Ayub Kalule, Justin Juuko, and Godfrey Nyakana, among others. These represented the country on the local, continental and international scene, winning many medals in the commonwealth, Olympic games, and All-African games, among other competitions.
The Uganda Boxing Federation has over-years undergone a leadership metamorphism that has seen the federation take different performance paths with a decline in the 2010s despite the federation’s efforts.
In January 2018, Uganda Boxing Federation was presented with a new leadership headed by Moses Muhangi as the elected Federation President. Muhangi assumed office on the 18th of March 2018 after winning a court petition that was being fronted by the incumbent president Kenneth Gimugu.
“Uganda has a rich history in the sport, and we are determined to transform the country into Africa’s boxing powerhouse” – Moses Muhangi said upon assuming the office.
Since 2018, Muhangi and the team have worked to revamp the boxing sport in Uganda with projects like the Uganda Boxing Champions League.
In 2022, Uganda was honoured to host the International Boxing Federation President, Umar Kremlev who through the Amateur International Boxing Academy offered a multipurpose facility worth USD 5 million to Uganda in response to a request from Muhangi for the construction of an academy.
This academy will provide core and supporting programs to cover development courses for athletes, coaches, referees, and judges, among others.
Its construction was commissioned by the International Boxing President, Umar Kremlev himself, on 1st December 2022 on a 10-acre piece of land in Matugga that the federation secured from the Buganda Kingdom.
“Boxing In Uganda has changed. It is now attracting big people and corporate people leadership.” Moses Mugangi said during Umar Kremlev’s visit to Uganda.
The year, 2022 also saw the federation sign a memorandum of understating with Next Media Services meaning that all the federation activities would be promoted on Next Media’s platforms with Uganda Boxing Champions League which is always televised live, and a TV show “Jab Jab” strictly for Ugandan boxing analysis on NBS Sport TV a brand of Next Media Services.
The year 2022 also had over 700 boxers from different clubs participating in the National Novices competition that started on 20th November 2022, at Lugogo hockey ground. The event was graced by amateur boxers, with an intent to develop talents as boxers are eyeing bigger competitions.
2022 was quite an eventful year for the Uganda Boxing Federation, and the recognition from the Uganda National Council of Sports as the best Uganda sports federation in the year 2022 was in order.
On the National Council recognition, Moses Muhangi said, “All these things we are doing is because we have a 5-year plan we developed way back around 2018 of how we intend to grow this sport of boxing in Uganda. Everything we are doing is on the plan.”
Despite the federation being recognised as the best performer among all sports federations in 2022, the Uganda Boxing Federation President, Muhangi notes that the federation is still facing several challenges like; no quarterly funding from government, no national gym or training centre and there are no funds to support local boxing development events.
Muhangi further says that there are no boxing in schools to nurture talent from the grass-root level because they were suspended by the Ministry of Education & Sports, and Boxing has missed participating in World Championships organized by the International Boxing Federation-IBA since 2017 due to no funding from government.