Pugilists Kennedy Katende and Ronald Serugo have received extra incentive to fight for victory once they step into the ring at the 2016 Olympic Games starting this Friday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, writes MOSES MUGALU.
Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) president Kenneth Gimugu has raised stakes for any medals won from the ring during the games by offering plots of land.
Kennedy Katende (light heavyweight) and Ronald Serugo (flyweight) are set to vie for top boxing honours in Rio, where Uganda will be represented by a total of 21 competitors, including 17 athletes and two swimmers.
By offering prime land, each plot measuring 100x50 feet in Mpigi town, Gimugu is optimistic that the two boxers could be motivated to stretch to the maximum for the reward.
“I know they are in good shape for the tournament but this kind of incentive is needed; remember we have not won any medal since 1980 when John Mugabi won bronze during the games in Moscow,” Gimugu said after disclosing his offer on Monday.
It is worth noting that Olympic champions will, for the first time in the history of boxing at the games, receive cash on top of the usual gold medals. Katende and Serugo are widely-tipped to win medals because of their vast experience as former Olympians and semi-professional fighters.
The Sweden-based pugilists competed at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China under different flags, though. Katende represented Sweden, his adopted country while Serugo fought for Uganda.
The two boxers have since gained experience as professional fighters, with Katende featuring on Aiba’s elite World Series of Boxing (WSB) circuit for the USA Knockouts and Mexico City Guerros franchises between 2010 and 2012.
Serugo missed out on the 2012 Olympic Games in London due to an international ban on Ugandan pugilists because of administrative wrangles in the sport’s local ruling body. In 2013, he moved to Sweden and launched his professional career in which he has won 11 bouts.