KAMPALA. As boxers begin training for the inaugural East African Games in Burundi next month, one popular face, boxing’s poster boy will be conspicuously missing.
Musa Shadir, a flamboyant boxer, who has been the national captain in recent campaigns, will not be in Lugogo after losing the final elimination battle to arch-rival David Ssemuju Monday night.
Shadir and Ssemuju both come from KCCA Boxing Club, but since Shadir vacated the light welterweight earlier this year, he became foes with Ssemuju, who thought would be the number one welterweight after 2017 African champion Muzamir Kakande followed former multiple national champion Nasser Bukenya to settle in Germany.
Shadir and Ssemuju both represented Uganda at the recent Commonwealth Games but the latter was aggrieved to box in the lower light welter division after losing the elimination bout to Shadir in March. And this time, it was a chance for both to set the record straight, in a bout that left followers divided: both boxers are national team material, but only one slot was available.
From the blue corner Shadir, unleashed his usual “hit-and-move” approach and for the first two rounds, he looked the better boxer. Ssemuju, who usually punishes immobile opponents had to work harder, chasing all day. It was a fight that had both good and ugly: classic punches, feints, and falls.
Ssemuju finally got his prey in the third round, hitting Shadir straight in the face. Not once, twice, but about six times, when Shadir, smiling through his gum shield, thought he had done enough to win. Even most spectators inside the MTN Arena-Lugogo concurred.