John Paul “The Beast” Mugabi – Uganda’s 1980 Bid For Boxing Olympic Gold in Moscow


Prior to he turned experienced, renowned Ugandan boxer John Paul “the Beast” Mugabi was simply John Mugabi–a younger and challenging-hitting, quick, promising boxer. Right after his silver medal acquire at the 1980 Olympics that had been held in Moscow, 20 calendar year-old Mugabi eyed the expert scene. Renowned British trainer and manager Mickey Duff discovered Mugabi and swiftly enlisted him. Duff is one particular of lots of (which include Ugandan Charles Lubulwa who participated in 3 Olympic tournaments) who opine that Mugabi was robbed of the gold medal. Into the specialist ranks, Mugabi’s ferocity, energy, and speed in the ring would make him the nickname, “the Beast,”–one that Mugabi has voiced as unflattering, but which the environment turned trapped on referring to him.

It was in the Parish of the Sacred Heart in Nogales in Arizona that Mugabi whilst education for what would turn out to be his most epic fight, that with entire world middleweight winner “Great” Marvin Hagler on 10th March 1986, that Mugabi would receive the identify Paul just after baptism into Catholicism (Clive Gammon, “This Beast Is a Elegance,” in ‘Sports Illustrated’ March 03, 1986).

Semi-arid Nogales ‘City of Walnut Trees’, stringing alongside the Mexican border, is Arizona’s greatest border town. Tiny Rio Rico is ten miles north of Nogales, and it is in this article at the Sheraton Resort that a Mugabi instruction camp was established up in planning for the Hagler come across. Mugabi’s trainer, instrumental to his obtaining baptized, was the same Father Anthony Clark—the parish priest.

Back in 1976, 16 calendar year-aged Mugabi received a welterweight silver medal just after getting rid of to American Herol Graham in the Junior Beginner Planet Boxing Championships. Interestingly, only weeks right before Mugabi’s battle with Hagler, Graham dethroned Ugandan Ayub Kalule of the European middleweight title soon after knocking him out in the tenth spherical. This fight would spell the stop of Kalule’s illustrious boxing profession. Several have questioned what would have been the consequence of a bout in between Kalule and Mugabi. There is a 6-calendar year age variation, and Kalule had been an idol and mentor of young Mugabi yrs back again in Kampala.

The Olympic Games of 1976, held in Montreal were being boycotted by many nations, like Uganda. Ayub Kalule had been scheduled to struggle for Uganda. He turned a skilled boxer. And so did staff-mate Cornelius Bbosa who was later on to grow to be broadly known as Cornelius Bosa (Boza) Edwards, and turn out to be a environment junior-light-weight winner.

The big highlight of the Video games in Montreal have been the finals of the welterweight boxing division, the date 31st July 1976. Young American “Sugar” Ray Leonard, who prepared to halt boxing and continue on with school at the College of Maryland was pitted towards a more powerful and taller Cuban with a stellar knock-out document. This Andres Aldama who experienced knocked out all 5 of his past opponents, was envisioned to acquire. But Leonard, similar to Muhammad Ali in his before occupation adopted a “strike-and-operate” method, and elusively frustrated and angered the Cuban. As the Cuban billed, Leonard would toss in a immediate mix of strong and exact punches and then retreat. It was like a David-Goliath slaughtering, that even included the Cuban having knocked down, and also using two necessary counts.

The Moscow Olympic finals of the welterweight division in boxing, 2nd August 1980, included a next coming of the experienced dreaded Andres Aldama. Amid his new accolades was a gold medal earn at the Pan African Online games held in Puerto Rico in the prior yr. Aldama’s opponent John Mugabi at 20, was 4 several years more youthful, far significantly less experienced, and considerably fewer examined and recognized than himself. Just about every of the two boxers experienced knocked out 4 out of five of their earlier Olympic boxing opponents. John Mugabi was Uganda’s remaining prospect for gold.

In the very first round Mugabi proved to be the more lively 1. He threw lots of jabs, but the tall southpaw Aldama held most of them at bay, most ended up not hitting their goal. Aldama seemed to be researching his opponent, sizing him up. The judges almost certainly gave this round to Mugabi, just for the energy.

The next round observed Aldama occur off his stool battling difficult and determined. He gained confidence as the round progressed, unleashing challenging head-photographs on Mugabi various moments. Towards the conclusion of the spherical, he prompted Mugabi to briefly stumble. But Mugabi courageously counter-attacked, clearly with no intention to cave in. And just like most capable southpaws, Aldama once in a while confuse Mugabi by his switching to the orthodox boxing stance.

The 3rd spherical was a war. Mugabi was landing blows to the head in the brawl, but Aldama’s supply was significantly extra major. Aldama was also more exact. Mugabi was tiring in the confront of encounter and rigid sound punches. He did not yield to a knockdown, but a hypothetical fourth spherical would very likely have resulted in Mugabi having knocked out. Mugabi normally had the energy and coronary heart, but ineffectiveness at defending himself was his significant profession weak point.

The referee declared the combat a deserved 4-1 in favor of Aldama. The entirety of the fight is accessible on U-Tube. Thirty many years afterwards, legendary John Mugabi remains the very last Ugandan to win an Olympic boxing medal.

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