Umar Kremlev, the International Boxing Association- IBA President is set to visit Uganda, months after retaining office for his second term.
Uganda Boxing Federation –UBF President, Moses Muhangi who invited Mr. Kremlev told URN that it will be a three-day visit from the 30th of November to the 2nd of December.
Umar Kremlev was re-elected as President of IBA unopposed during day two of the IBA Extraordinary Congress held in Turkey in May this year. This came after his only opponent Van der Vorst of the Netherlands was declared ineligible.
Muhangi says that Kremlev’s visit will be a boost in their journey to rejuvenate boxing in the country. He thinks that because of Kremlev’s position, he will be able to assist Uganda’s boxing community in finding solutions to persistent issues that have long affected the sport.
“We he comes, it will help us in lifting the sport in Uganda, because he will be able to see our boxers and look for a way of helping them”
The visit however comes nearly two years since Mr. Kremlev through the Amateur International Boxing Academy-AIBA offered a multipurpose academy (facility) worth USD 5 million in response to a request from Muhangi whose plan is 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 Muhan
gi, the boxing federation has already secured a piece of land from the Buganda Kingdom this month. The 10-acre piece of land is in Matugga, in the Gombe sub-county of Nansana Municipality, which is located a mere 21 kilometers from Kampala city centre.
Muhangi further says that he will be able to bring up the issue when Mr. Kremlev visits Uganda later this month. “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 will support us.”
For many years, Boxing was one of the most active and successful sports in Uganda claiming many medals in the commonwealth, Olympic games, and All African games, and producing many of the world’s best boxers including Eridadi Mukwanga, John “Beast” Mugabi, Benson Masanda, Ayub Kalule, Justin “JukBox” Juuko, and Godfrey Nyakana, among others.
However, despite periodic efforts by the local Federation to promote it, the sport has been declining in recent years. John Mugabi was the last boxer to bring Uganda a silver medal during the 1980 Summer 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.
Mr. Kremlev also comes at a time when the local Boxing Federation is pressurizing the 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 SS, Dynamic SS, and Kisugu SS were dominate competitions, produced crème de la crème boxers like Nyakana and Juuko.