KAMPALA – The International Boxing Association- Aiba President, Umar Kremlyov will visit Uganda from November 30 – the first time, during second term of office, the country’s local sport’s governing body boss, Moses Muhangi confirmed.
Uganda Boxing Federation –UBF President, Muhangi who invite the Russia born revealed that the Aiba top brass will stay in the country up to December 2.
Kremlyov was re-elected unopposed as the Aiba President during a two-day Extraordinary Congress held in May this year in Turkey, after his would be opponent, Van der Vorst from the Netherlands was declared ineligible.
Muhangi contends that Kremlyov’s visit will be a boost in their journey to rejuvenate boxing locally. He believes that because of Kremlyov’s position, he will be able to assist Uganda’s boxing community in finding solutions to persistent issues that have long affected the sport.
“His visit will help us in lifting the sport, because he will be able to see our boxers and look for a way of helping them,” URN quoted Muhangi as saying.
The Russian’s visit comes nearly two years since he pledged through Aiba to offer a multipurpose facility worth US$ 5 million in response to a request from Muhangi whose plan is focusing to set up an academy that will provide core and supporting programs to cover development courses for athletes, coaches, Referees and Judges, as well as sport and competition managers.
Aiba however tasked UBF to find land to host the academy and according to Muhangi, the boxing federation has already secured a piece of land – measuring up to 10-acres from the Buganda Kingdom. Muhangi revealed that the said piece was identified in Matugga – Gombe sub-county, Nansana Municipality, Wakiso district – about 21 kilometres from Kampala city centre.
“He had offered a boxing facility, but we had failed to secure the land, but now we have secured the land two years later, I will therefore return that discussion to the table to see how he can support us,” he noted.
For many years, boxing was one of the most active and successful sporting disciplines in Uganda claiming many medals in the commonwealth, Olympic games, and All African games, and producing many of the world’s best boxers including Eridad Mukwanga, John ‘The Beast’ Mugabi, Benson Masanda, Ayub Kalule, Justin “The Destroyer” Juuko, Godfrey Nyakana and many others.
However, despite efforts by the local federation to promote the sport – a however a decline is has been registered the recent years. John Mugabi was the last boxer to bring Uganda a silver medal during the 1980 Olympics in the Welterweight category before becoming a sensational professional in the US.
The decline has frequently been linked to the decline of various boxing clubs, such as Kampala Boxing Club, which was recognized for fostering the majority of Uganda’s prominent boxers, both amateur and professional.
Kremlyov’s visit comes at a time when sport’s local management is lobbying government to reverse its prior decision to ban boxing in schools.
Boxing was suspended in schools earlier in 2009 when the then Education and Sports Commissioner, Dan Tamwesigire raised concern about the safety of amateur boxers in schools, citing the fighters’ inability to withstand punches on their heads.
Prior to its ban, schools like Kololo High, Dynamic SS, Kako SS, Kisugu SS were a house hold name in nurturing talents.
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