The 2017 Cadets Boxing Championships punches off today at the indoor stadium, Lugogo.
The week-long tournament, which climaxes on Sunday, is expected to have 250 pugilists aged 16 and 40 competing for bragging rights in different weight categories.
Hima Cement and Sun Beauty Products have partnered with the Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF), to sponsor this championship by providing logistics (trophies, medals, T-shirts among other prizes), to facilitate the smooth running of the tournament.
However, this tournament will also be a platform for the certification of more referees and judges for the sport. Simon Barigo, the UBF general secretary, said while this was a good opportunity to discover more talent that will represent the country in future, the sport also needs more fight officials.
And it is not about cranking up the numbers of match officials but making sure that UBF has umpires and judges of international standard. As a result, the cadets tournament will be attended by instructors from world boxing body, Aiba.
Currently, Uganda has two international referee/judges. Steven Aciga and Moses Kintu are the only ones that have in recent years officiated in international boxing tournaments. Yet, it goes without saying that having high-profile boxing officials has a multiplier effect on the standard of boxing generally.
Aciga said recently that one of the main undoings for Ugandan boxers has been the lack of knowledge on how to score. But that knowledge is normally transferred through the judges, who award fights.
Therefore, by having more referees and judges, Uganda’s upcoming boxers can only benefit particularly from the beginning levels, as the cadets are.
UBF spokesman Fred Kavuma noted that at the end of this week’s championship, the referee and judges, who will have scored well according to the Aiba instructors, will be certified. This will be another step in the development path of about 40 individuals vying for grading in this area.
Meanwhile, three national team boxers, popularly known as ‘The Bombers’, fly out today to Hamburg for the Aiba World Boxing Championships, slated to begin on Friday August 25.
The three, Muzamir Kakande (welterweight 68kg), Geoffrey Kakeeto (bantamweight 56kg) and David Ayiti (Super Heavyweight 91kg) are at this stage, following their exploits at the Africa Boxing Championships in June in Congo-Brazzaville.
Kakande won gold then while his counterparts, Kakeeto and Ayiti bagged silver. During the team flag-off last Friday in Lugogo, the team was buoyant. Team coach Patrick Lihanda said the experience from Congo-Brazzaville will go a long way in aiding his boxers in Hamburg.