BY ABDUL-NASSER SSEMUGABI
When Isaac Zebra Ssenyange Jr and Muzamir Ssemuddu fought on December 26, 2022, the last night of Season One of the Uganda Boxing Champions League ended in chaos.
Angry fans threw plastic chairs and bottles into the ring area,raging towards judges for declaring Zebra a 3-2 victor. For over half an hour, everyone feared the tension could get worse.
To date, Ssemuddu vows to knock out his opponents to avoid judges’ bias. So far, he has walked that talk, stopping Depark Mawanda and Richard Kasujja in the league.
But all his rage and vengeance is reserved for Zebra for that ‘robbery’ at Akamwesi Complex, Kyebando nearly a year ago.
Yet Zebra insists he deserved to win be- cause he landed more quality punches. And Saturday, Week 15 of the league is the chance for both to settle the score.
Like at Akamwesi,Ssemuddu will be in the red corner of Lugogo Indoor Arena, Zebra in the blue one. But Zebra says a lot has changed on his side, which gives him an edge.
“Since December I have fought at the World Boxing Championships, won one fight and lost one. At the Olympic qualifiers in Dakar, I won two and lost one.Locally,I have won both my fights,” Zebra told Daily Monitor.
At the African Confederation Champi- onships in Yaounde, Cameroon, in August, Ssemuddu was stopped in the preliminaries by Tiago Muxanga, the Mozambican light middleweight who won silver at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games in the United Kingdom.
“I have learnt and improved a lot compared to Muzamir, who has only three fights. And his only fight abroad he was stopped. So if you base your prediction on form, clearly you know who the winner will be.”
But sport is unpredictable, especially against a familiar opponent, more so driven by vengeance. Still, Zebra is confident.
“Most boxers do the same thing for years. They never change. But the Zebra of 2021 is different from the Zebra of 2022 and the one of 2022 is different from the one of 2023.”
Zebra had a fantastic show against Broline Kimbugwe last month. Kimbugwe and Ssemuddu share some physical and technical attributes. So should we expect the same approach?
“Yes and no. Broline and Muzamir have almost the same style so I might use the same approach. But I always fight according to the opponent’s approach,”Zebra said.
“Trust me, I will leave it all in the ring. Because people say I am favoured but it is the other way round. So I must be outstanding to win.”