John Baker Muwanga and Oscar Joseph Nsubuga: Uganda Sibling Boxing Champions


John Baker Muwanga, one of the greatest regarded of Uganda’s boxing champions, was born on April 2nd 1956 in the vicinity of Kampala, increasing up in Nsambya. Joseph Nsubuga, a different of Uganda’s renowned former boxers, was Muwanga’s older 50 percent-brother.

Equally unique and interesting is how Muwanga commenced boxing, how he progressed, and why and how he hang up his gloves. His pathway to boxing commenced when his half-brother Nsubuga who was born in Kenya in the early 1950’s showed up in 1963 at the relatives home in Nsambya even though accompanied by his sister and mother. The father of the kids had been utilized by East African Railways and Harbors in which he labored in Kenya. Muwanga was delighted to have an older brother all over. Nsubuga experienced dabbled at boxing. Quickly, Muwanga would accompany Nsubuga to the Police Boxing club in Nsambya, a few times. But Muwanga was not impressed with the sport. Also, Muwanga’s mother would quickly vacate the dwelling, getting with him Muwanga and a single of his sisters to dwell somewhere else. He before long finished up remaining a pupil in Mugwanya Preparatory College (Kabojja), a boarding faculty and thereafter he was transferred to the sister faculty St. Savio Key College on Entebbe Road.

At Savio in 1969, Muwanga finished up combating a bully who transpired to be the son of a politically well known person. Muwanga was expelled from faculty as a result. His father was very furious, and assured him that he would by no means amount of money to anything at all. In the meantime brother Nsubuga was making regular boxing progress, Muwanga bought the awareness for just happening to be the brother–despite the fact that he was set down as comparatively weak and not as tricky as his boxing brother. It is right here that Muwanga made a decision to check out boxing. He was matched with participate in opponents, he was terribly overwhelmed and laughed at. Men and women from northern Uganda have been reputed to be very good fighters, and Muwanga was discouraged from continuing with boxing on the grounds that such boxers would, “kill you for practically nothing.” But the taunting just manufactured Muwanga the additional determined to disprove skeptics.

Muwanga dared to enroll in the national junior championships which were held at the Nsambya Police shed. He would represent Nsambya Boxing Club. At that location and time, individuals times, professional medical assessments were being not up to typical and were being not taken seriously. Muwanga was allowed to box. He was matched with an opponent Tilima from Naguru boxing Club. In the struggle, Muwanga did not demonstrate himself his opponent who was a great deal better than him did his best not to humiliate him. Tilima even pretended to be knocked down, even when he had not been hit. Muwanga writes (Individual communication, 10 June 2014):

“What a exhibit!!! This male attempted every little thing not to humiliate me but unsuccessful persons laughed right until tears run down there cheeks. The person even pretended to be knocked down by the air of a punch I experienced swung some 10 inches away from him. He bought a warning for that. I shed and the group laughed.”

Muwanga’s associates would laugh at him because of that struggle. This prompted him to attempt the much more to turn into a very good boxer. Early on a Sunday he determined to go to Kampala Boxing Club in Nakivubo. Muwanga writes, “I went to KBC in Nakivubo, established to find out how to box or die” (Private communication, 10 June 2014). The club was closed.

Muwanga returned to KBC early the subsequent early morning. There a fellow James Bond Okwaare built entertaining of how Muwanga experienced boxed. Okwaare was promptly rebuked by the nationwide coach Erias Gabiraali. Muwanga started off instruction there as he acquired to know some of the nationwide boxers who dropped in. These inclued Ayub Kalule, Cornelius Bbosa Boza-Edwards, Mustafa Wasajja, Ben Ochan, Alex Odhiambo, Ochodomuge, and David Jackson. Even Muwanga’s brother Nsubuga would fall in. In concluding words Muwanga writes (Individual interaction, 10 June 2014):

“A person working day I was shocked to hear that my brother was going to Scotland [Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, 1970] to represent Uganda. I could not believe that, not only that other urchins from the ‘village’ ended up also likely, to make the pie sweeter boys from the slum upcoming doorway which was Katwe Kinyoro, the likes of John Opio were being also in the team!!! There was justice in straightforward sweat, tough perform and willpower… the relaxation is history.”

At the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, on July 18th 1970, 16 calendar year-outdated Joseph Oscar Nsubuga (lightweight) was defeated by points decision by Olympian Kenneth Mwansa of Zambia in the preliminary round.

At the Commonwealth Video games of 1974 held in Christchurch, 20 year-outdated Nsubuga now a light-weight-welterweight defeated Philip Sapak of Papua New Guinea. This took place in the preliminary very first round on January 27th when the referee halted the battle early after Nsubuga had immediately confused his opponent. Even so, in the quarter-finals that were being held two days later, James Douglas of Scotland defeated Nsubuga by details and thereby halted Nsubuga’s quest for a medal.

Months later on, in August 1974, Nsubuga, fighting as a middleweight, would get a bronze medal at the inaugural Environment Amateur Boxing Championships in Havana. Nsubuga had moved up to the middleweight division.

The TSC Event was held at the Dynamo-Sporthalle in Berlin for the duration of Oct 3-7, 1974. In the quarter-finals, Nsubuga fighting as a middleweight conquer Zaprianov (Bulgaria) by details. But in the semi-finals he was overwhelmed, by points, by Peter Tiepold of the German Democratic Republic. He settled for the bronze medal. listed here Ugandans done remarkably nicely: James Odwori (flyweight) and Ayub Kalule (gentle-welterweight) received gold Vitalish Bbege (welterweight) received the silver medal.

Nsubuga would debut as a experienced in Could 1975 whereby he moved to Finland then to Norway he would primarily fight in Europe. Nsubuga stopped competing in 1981 immediately after he was knocked out by famous long term earth champion Davey Moore. Nsubuga’s most signified fight was his spirited gladiator battle (non-title bout) with renowned Panamanian Roberto Duran on January 13th 1980 in Las Vegas. The Panamanian seemed to be tiring, but Joseph “Stoneface” Nsubuga was knocked out at the end of the fourth spherical. He retired from boxing in 1981 with an spectacular report of 18 wins and 3 losses. Nsubuga handed away in Helsinki on May possibly 4th 2013, aged 59.

In the course of the 1970’s though at Namasagali College in Kamuli District in Uganda, Muwanga displayed himself as a skillful, dreaded, and common boxer. At the novice nationwide amount, he is explained to have defeated renowned future environment champion and fellow Ugandan Cornelius Boza-Edwards (Bbosa) twice. In April 1973, the yearly Golden Belt Tournament took area in Bucharest. Most of the winners and silver medalists turned out to be Cubans and Romanians. It was in this article that Muwanga, aged 17, very first participated in international competitiveness. Here Muwanga, alongside one another with his accomplices on the Uganda crew–Ayub Kalule, Vitalish Bbege, and James Odwori–all gained bronze medals in Romania. Afterwards in the same 1973, Muwanga fought for Uganda twice in two Urafiki (Kenya vs. Uganda) tournaments he was victorious. Muwanga soon grew to become confused when the veteran Ugandan boxing legend Alex Odhiambo, who had heretofore been so essential of the younger boxer, subsequently gave him the nod and the thumbs up!

At the local stage and through teaching, Muwanga did struggle Odwori and one more popular Uganda boxer “Kabaka” Nasego numerous moments, but he did not acquire. Amongst the Ugandans he conquer had been Vincent Byarugaba, and many some others. Muwanga’s stint as a nationwide novice boxer ended up from 1973 to 1977 when he was also a scholar at Namasagali University thereafter he attended Oslo College even though he fought as a expert. Muwanga recollects that at instruction camp, wherever behavioral attitudes varied from boxer to boxer, as admired illustration the skillful Odwori was significantly talkative, whereas Ayub Kalule most well-liked motion to text (Personalized interaction, 29 October 2015):

“… guys like Ayub Kalule… preferred action to speak, a phenomena in my impression. James Odouri talked a mile a minute but, experienced the rare ability to back up whichever he stated. A very scarce high-quality. We called him ‘Kasuku’ [parrot] guiding his back.”

John Muwanga, as a light-flyweight represented Uganda at the inaugural globe novice championships held in Havana in August 1974. Notably Kalule and Nsubuga here gained gold and bronze, respectively. Muwanga was removed in the preliminary spherical by a points decision in favor of Bejhan Fuchedzhiyev (Bulgaria). Quite noteworthy is the aspect that a substantial six of the Uganda contingent in Havana had examined at Namasagali–a person of the couple of educational institutions in Uganda that embraced boxing. In addition to Muwanga, all those boxers that did show up at Namasagali integrated Nsubuga, Odwori, John Byaruhanga, Vincent Byarugaba, and Shadrack Odhiambo.

Muwanga’s countrywide status ongoing to rise and at age 20 he was chosen to represent Uganda at the summer time Olympics in Montreal. Most African international locations, 20-eight of them, boycotted the Montreal Olympic Online games of 1976 when the Global Olympic Committee (IOC) refused to bar from the Olympics nations from which athletes had participated in sporting gatherings in apartheid South Africa. The New Zealand Rugby team was then touring South Africa. Nations around the world like China, Iraq, and Guyana also withdrew while with China it mostly had to do with a political name recognition situation–non-recognition of “Republic of China” vs. “Peoples’ Republic of China.”

The Uganda boxers withdrawn from participation for the reason that of the boycott involved Baker Muwanga (bantamweight) along with Venostos Ochira (light-flyweight), Adroni Butambeki (flyweight), Cornelius Boza-Edwards (Bbosa) (featherweight), David Ssenyonjo (lightweight), Jones Okoth (mild-welterweight), Vitalish Bbege (welterweight), and John Odhiambo (light-middleweight). Non of these pugilists experienced represented Uganda at the 1972 Olympics held in Munich. Vitalish Bbege experienced received gold at the Africa Boxing Championships held in Kampala in 1974.

Muwanga started off his experienced career in Norway in April 1978, and ended it in October 1982. He mainly boxed as a light-weight. All his bouts took spot in Norway, apart from the last two that took area in Finland. He did not reduce any of the bouts but he probable would have preferred to be exposed to extra intense competition and to also box in western international locations where there are extra top rated contenders and champions. A variable was the banning of professional boxing in Norway, this officially effective from the commencing of 1981.

Muwanga finished as undefeated as a experienced boxer with 15 wins, losses, with 6 knockouts ( He regrets to some prolong that he did not flourish as significantly as he would have needed to as a boxer, but at the same time he is grateful that boxing took him to places and opened to him a lot of positive aspects. He writes, “… my boxing career, in my impression was not as thrilling as I wanted it to be but I’m not complaining it opened a good deal of doorways for me and acquired me into areas I hardly ever imagined I would see… ” (Own conversation, 10 June 2014).

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