A new dawn has set on kickboxing; the fastest growing sport in Uganda. I am not talking about the governing body Uganda Kickboxing Federation (UKBF) finally getting office premises at Namboole stadium nor am I talking about the pending bloody bout between cult heroes Moses Golola and Ronald Mugula but rather on the changing trends in the game.
Ever wondered where hitherto a feeble, amateur and clueless kickboxer Golola got the semblance of fighting shape and tactics he is currently bragging of? Well sit back and relax as Kickoff’s Denis Bbosa takes on a journey to Nairobi at the well equipped Colosseum gym.
The Idea Is Born
It was early last year when two enterprising Ugandans working in Kenya Paul Kabaale and Allan Munobwa decide to extend an olive branch to desperate Ugandan kickboxers like Golola who had the desire to earn out of the game but lacked basics to play it. By that time, Golola; the biggest brand in kickboxing and actually its defacto ambassador was nursing several bruises after being humiliated by Hungarians Andras Nagy and Mate Zsamboki.
His propelling impossible jokes like ‘kicking River Nile out of Uganda and hanging his clothes on the MTN line’ had turned against him. In a bid to walk the talk, Golola contacted Kabaale and Munobwa who hastily arranged for him to meet renowned K1 and Mua Thai coach Andrelian Leenher aka Andre at his Colosseum gym in Kibera, Nairobi – at their expense.
Andre and his auxiliary Abdu Sheikh fine tuned Golola for a month and the rest is history. They worked on his diet, psychological set up, body frame, tactics and footwork which greatly helped him bang Istvan Betyars and national champion Titus Tugume who he floored in 45 seconds for starters. “The two fighters I have so far handled (Golola and Richard Damulira aka Ring Doctor) have shown me that Uganda is blessed with good fighters. If they get the right training facility and trainers Uganda can become the best country in Africa,” the 53-year-old former Dutch champion told this reporter at his Nairobi gym recently.
Kenya Ready To Tap Ugandan Talent
If you thought it’s only Ugandans who are swept off their feet by Golola’s charm, think again. Hordes of Kenyans are so in love with Golola that they would pay any sum to have him fight from Kenya. In fact Golola is expected to head to Kenya immediately after his fight with Mugula on March 6. Currently Kenyans are warming up for a mouthwatering battle between fast rising Uganda kickboxer Richard Ddamulira aka Ring Doctor and South African undisputed K1 champion Nkosnasi Ximba due March 29 at Kasarani indoor complex. The match to be telecast live on Super Sport will be aiming at getting a new African champion in the K1 category. Soon soldiers Tugume and Tumukunde aka Ak47 will be on their way to join the growing Ugandan contingent in Kenya.
Why Colosseum Gym?
Probably the best gym in Kenya, the expensive and well facilitated gym started in 1999 by Andre is premised on Adams Arcade in Kibera. With services ranging from massage, medical to all types training, expectant fighters from all walks of life frequent the gym. It has produced 10 national, continental and world champions including Kevin Miruka, Mina Kishega, Mutuwa to mention but a few.
“Here we train fights to attain knock outs not wins that’s how we managed to plucked out fear from Golola. We administer pain but at the end you gain,” said trainer Abdur, 30, who is currently handling Damulira. Andre is at times lost for words to describe Damulira’s aptitude; “he is extremely talent for his age, give me two months and I will hand Uganda a world champion,” said the tough coach revered world over for his 40 wonderful years of service to the game.
Promoters Speak Out
To promoters Kabaale and Munobwa, this is work in progress. “We intend to lift the livelihood of Ugandan kickboxers so that they benefit from their sweat. Our scouting network has earmarked fighters like Shafique Bukenya, Damulira and Tugume whom we think can conquer the world if given necessary preparations,” said Kabaale, 45, who lives in Hurlingham, Nairobi.