Despite his recent controversial loss to Isaac Ssenyange Junior in the Uganda Boxing Champions League, Muzamir Semuddu remains upbeat on the future, reports JOHN VIANNEY NSIMBE.
Light middleweight boxer Muzamir Semuddu is already back on the grind, working out for the battles that lie ahead this year. The Kololo Boxing Club pugilist controversially lost to Isaac ‘Zebra’ Ssenyange Junior during the Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) year-ending Champions League bouts on Boxing day a week ago.
It was that kind of fight where Semuddu was not only fighting Ssenyange, but even against the reputation the latter has. His father, the late Zebra Ssenyange, commonly known as Mando, previously represented the country from the late 1990s into the 2000s; and at the time of his passing on December 30, 2020, was the national team (Bombers) manager.
While it is not clear why the judges called the fight in favour of Ssenyange, a call even the UBF president Moses Muhangi was unhappy about and pledged to investigate, Semuddu remains upbeat about his future in the sport.
Semuddu said: “The loss to Zebra was simply a mere setback to the greater goal I have, to be the indisputable champion. To everyone that watched the fight, it was evident I did enough, to be crowned winner. But the judges had their views, which I respect despite not agreeing with.”
According to Semuddu’s coach, Sam Kabugo, his boxer was disappointed by the judges’ decision. Yet, he remained calm and grounded. Even as protests went on, to challenge the judges’ decision, Semuddu, 22, was quick to quell the tensions. One of his main supporters, musician John Blaq, stormed the ring in the wee hours of the night, to express his disquiet. Yet, Semuddu hurried to ask him out of the ring in a move that suggested he was ready to let bygones be exactly that.
Semuddu said: “A sportsman has to be gracious in defeat no matter the circumstances. Boxing day’s outcome was just one slip. But I have got up, to look ahead to bigger prospects. My future is bright, and I look forward to my next meeting with Zebra, whom I know, is also a good fighter.”
Incidentally, Semuddu attended the candle lit memorial held in honour of Ssenyange’s late father last Friday. It was meant to mark the second anniversary of when ‘Mando’ was gunned down near his home. While one would have thought that Semuddu remained upset, following his loss to Ssenyange, he said they remain colleagues outside the ring.
Against that, amid the rivalry building up between the two for slots on the national team, life is bigger than boxing. Therefore, an occasion organized to celebrate the memory of one of Uganda’s former boxers, and a father to his competitor, he would not miss.
Going forward, Semuddu and Ssenyange will be fighting, to secure places on the national team. The Champions League is slated to resume in April. After fighting ten times in 2022, Semuddu believes the Champions League has put him in good stead, which makes him confident for the upcoming international events.
Boxing coach Tony Ssekabira noted that Semuddu is surely one to fast-track because of his stamina and technique. For Kabugo, on the other hand, he is impressed by the fact that Semuddu has been taking on taller opponents like John Owino and Ssenyange, and giving them a hard time.
“He has got speed and tact, to break the defence of taller boxers. But he is still not the finished product,” Kabugo said.
Semuddu acknowledges that too. Although he put Ssenyange in a situation where he had to beat the referee’s count a few times, Kabugo stressed that for a young pugilist like Semuddu still is, he has to improve his defence mechanism, to be the complete article.
Otherwise, at the moment, Semuddu, who is also credited for his bravery (in September 2021, he gave Olympian David Ssemujju quite a scare in the early rounds), realizes that the only way to beat the judges, is by knocking out his opponents!