Debating the Best Ugandan Boxers of All Time

Debating the Best Ugandan Boxers of All Time

07:30 - 22.05.2024

Sports always seem to spark great debates, and boxing is no exception. With Uganda being one of the best countries in Africa for boxers historically, there is a raging debate over the greatest boxers in Uganda’s history. There is perhaps no wrong answer when talking about the best boxers to come out of Uganda because there have been so many memorable fighters. However, we wanted to contribute to the debate with a list of our five best Ugandan boxers of all time.

Cornelius Boza Edwards

Cornelius fought in several weight divisions to emerge as a prominent figure in Ugandan boxing history. Despite Mexican fighters dominating much of his era, Cornelius earned respect by facing formidable challenges head-on. In 1981, he secured the WBC World Junior Lightweight title by defeating Limón.

Cornelius later successfully defended his title against Bobby Chacon with a technical knockout in the 14th round. Throughout his professional career, Cornelius participated in 53 fights, winning 45 (including 34 by knockouts), losing 7 (with 4 by knockouts), and drawing once.

Kassim Ouma

Born in 1978 into a family of 13, Kassim gained fame for going A.W.O.L from the army to focus on his boxing career. Prior to turning pro, he amassed an impressive record of 62 wins and only 3 losses in amateur bouts. During a tour of the USA with the Uganda National Amateur team,

Kassim opted to remain in the US to pursue a professional path. Shortly thereafter, he clinched the IBF (International Boxing Federation) Junior Middleweight World title. His dominance continued with a successful defense against Ghanaian Kofi Jonathan. Kassim also had a chance to fight during the 1996 Olympics but couldn’t because of financial hardships. Nevertheless, Kassim fought 41 matches during his pro career, winning 29 of them, including 18 by knockout.

Ayub Kalule

Ayub stands apart as one of the greatest boxers not just in Uganda but across Africa. His journey to boxing stardom began in 1974 in Havana, Cuba, where he claimed the World welterweight title as an amateur. Opting to turn professional during the era of the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard, Ayub went on to capture the World Light-middleweight Championship, although he later lost it to Sugar Ray in a thrilling bout.

In 1979, Ayub seized the WBA Junior Middleweight title in Japan from defending champion Masaji Kudo. He defended this title four times before facing Sugar Ray again in 1981 at the Houston Astrodome. Despite landing effective punches in the early rounds, Ayub faced a tough challenge from Sugar Ray, ultimately losing the fight in the 9th round. Despite his struggles against Sugar Ray, Ayub won 46 of his 50 professional fights, including 23 by knockout.

Justin Juuke

Juuko earned the moniker "the Ugandan destroyer" for his style of fighting and impressive knack for winning by knockout. His career took off in 1990 when he participated in the Commonwealth Games, winning a gold medal in the Flyweight division. From there, Juuko's professional journey flourished.

He secured a slew of titles, including the WBC International Super featherweight title, WBC FaceBox super featherweight title, ABU lightweight title, and NABF super featherweight title. His career reached a pinnacle when he faced the undefeated Floyd Mayweather for the WBC super Featherweight title, succumbing to a knockout in the 9th round. For his career, Juuke won 45 of 58 fights with 30 knockout victories.

If he were still fighting today, Juuke would likely be a favorite of bettors. In recent years, boxing betting has taken off thanks to several prominent sportsbooks accepting wagers on fights throughout the world. Many of these platforms offer bonuses to new users and a variety of betting options for fights.

John Mugabi

Born in 1960, Mugabi earned the nickname "the Beast" for his aggressive boxing style. In his era, he was one of the greatest talents in the light Middleweight division. He rose to prominence during boxing's golden era of the 1980s. Mugabi's journey began with a notable achievement in the 1980 Summer Olympics, winning the Silver Medal in the Welterweight division, making him the only Ugandan to come home with a medal.

Transitioning to the professional arena, one of Mugabi’s most memorable fights was a swift win over Karadenis in the first round with a powerful knockout. Even after changing weight classes, Mugabi continued to dominate the ring. In his 50 career fights, Mugabi was victorious 42 times with 39 of those wins coming via knockout.