Kampala. Sharif Bogere last talked to a journalist from Kampala in Kampala nearly twelve years ago before the Bombers jetted to Chicago for the 2007 Aiba World Boxing Championship.
But when the prize fighter, on a surprise homecoming, thought of his first media interview in Uganda, he needn’t think twice—he chose Daily Monitor, “the paper which has covered me faithfully.”
“I’m glad and privileged to meet you guys,” the soft-spoken fighter said. Not once. But often in our exclusive interview. “You covered me when I was still an amateur and you continued that faith till now.”
The Lion from the coveted Mayweather Promotions, is so humble for a boxer his calibre, who has worked with two of the best promotion companies, said he missed his family and friends in Uganda. His little brothers, whom he left in as boys are now men, even towering over his 5ft5in.
“It’s been long…I really missed my people. Mom and all my relatives and friends,” he said with visible passion.
Bogere reserved special gratitude for US-based journalist Douglas Bugingo and Fred Musisi Kiyingi, who have even covered his training sessions in Las Vegas.
Since settling in Las Vegas, Bogere has knitted a nearly enviable professional career of 32 victories [20KOs] and 2 losses. That his first loss [in 2013] was a world title shot and the second [on February 9, 2019] a title eliminator—against Dominican Republic’s Javier Fortuna in Carson, California—does not deflate his hopes.
“I still have big dreams of winning a world title and if Allah wishes, it could even be after two or three fights. Who knows?” the practicing Muslim said, once more professing his faith in fate.
A lot has changed in this clogged city, with new buildings sprouting almost every day. No wonder, Bogere could not locate where his former gym Kampala Boxing Club was located. “It’s my mom who showed me where Nakivubo [Stadium] was.”
Since Nakivubo was demolished in February 2017, KBC has sought refuge in a makeshift rooftop facility—with irregular-shaped tiles covering the floor—on a building near Cooper Complex on Nakivubo Mews Road before relocating to another rooftop cubicle at Ovino Mall overlooking Kisenyi slum, where Bogere learnt elementary sweet science.
Given the opportunity, Bogere wishes to meet the Ugandan boxers to share with them some boxing tips that can shape them into competitors by international standards.