(OCT 27) At a time when the
AIBA and Asian Olympic body, Olympic Council of India (OCA) are
at loggerheads following the recent Asian Games in Incheon,
South Korea, it is refreshing to report of an African country
whose boxers are actually looking forward to the forthcoming
AIBA World Championships in Jeju Island, also in South Korea.
These are the five young women
who hope to represent their country and pit their wits against
the likes of China's Cancan Ren, India's MC Mary Kom, Tiara
Brown from the United States, her fellow countrywoman Queen
Underwood, and Olympic Gold medallist from London 2012,
Ireland's Katie Taylor who will be seeking a record five in a
row 60 kg lightweight crown in Jeju.
So who are these boxers? Where do they come from? How do they
prepare and will the AIBA approve their entries for Jeju or deny
them the opportunity of taking on their heroes from all
continents including MC Mary Kom who will hopefully be
representing her country again in South Korea?
Moses Mugalu, Uganda's respected boxing commentator writing in
the (Ugandan) Observer reports that this is all about to change
provided that the AIBA accepts their entries for Jeju.This would
be after all the first major championships that they have
entered outside of their home country and they have certainly
never faced competition from such as Mary Kom, Queen Underwood
or Katie Taylor in their home country before.
Writing this week in the "Ugandan Observer", Mugalu concludes
that these ' female boxers have been treated as mere
curtain-raisers who participate in exhibition bouts before major
boxing tournaments. But that stance is bound to change when five
boxers; Maureen Adhiambo Nakiryowa, Diana Tulyanabo, Hellen
Baleke, Diana Atwine and Lydia Nantale, compete at the Aiba
Women’s World Championships due November 13-25 on Jeju island in
Under the guidance of national team coach, Dick Katende, the
pugilists have so far put in three weeks of work-out sessions as
part of the team’s non-residential preps at Lugogo gymnasium.
Despite working on the bare minimum of resources (because of
financial constraints Uganda Boxing Federation only gives them
tea and lunch, no transport and upkeep allowances yet), there
are high spirits in the boxers’ camp.
“I have always wanted to represent my country and this is a
great chance for me… I will not disappoint,” vows Hellen Baleke,
who is the most senior fighter on the team.
Beleke started out as a bantamweight in 2005 and has since boxed
at different weight categories upwards to her current
middleweight class. Having set out as a fighter in exhibition
bouts before major events at Lugogo Indoor Arena, Baleke has
‘steeled’ through such contests to become a regional force.
Albeit perhaps a little optimistically she feels that the
experience gained from her recent bouts against Kenyan
opponents, who are more exposed internationally, could come in
handy in her bid to win a world championships medal. Light
flyweight Nakiryowa and Tulyanabo (welterweight) is equally
optimistic that current struggles in preparations could inspire
“I embraced boxing in 2007 because of desire to get self-defence
skills but there’s a realistic chance now to make it a big
career,” says 22-year-old Tulyanabo, who has a record of eight
wins in eleven bouts.
Tulyanabo’s international exposure includes bouts in Kenya,
Rwanda and Burundi after she boxed in the regional Inter-Cities
and Clubs Championships during the 2011 and 2013 editions.
Formerly a footballer in Kampala Kids League (KKL), Nantale, who
is the youngest on the team, is counting on the chance to gain
international experience but her fate on whether she makes the
trip or not will be decided by UBF officials next week.
The Ugandan newspaper concludes that ''at 17 years of age, she’s
ineligible for this Aiba elite tournament but UBF could consider
taking her as an understudy on the team for future prospects. As
expected, Nantale awaits UBF’s decision with a lot of anxiety.
It could make or break her boxing career.
Apart from Diana Atwine, who is based in Entebbe, the other four
pugilists live low-profile lifestyles in Kamwokya slum
dwellings. Their sacrifices to boxing include foregoing meals
and walking on foot (to and fro) Lugogo for training session
It’s against this background that Beleke appeals for more
support from UBF and the general public towards their preps
ahead of the world championships.Organised by boxing’s world
ruling body, Aiba, the Women’s World Boxing Championships will
attract the best female boxers across 10 weight categories
including 48kg, 51kg, 54kg, 57kg, 60kg, 64kg, 75kg, 81kg and
This is the eighth edition of the Championships, which were
first held in 2001 in Scranton, USA. Previous editions have been
staged in Antalya, Turkey in 2002; Podolsk, Russia in 2005;
Delhi, India in 2006; Ningbo, China in 2008; Bridgetown,
Barbados in 2010 and Qinhuangdao, China in 2012.
WBAN joins in wishing the young ladies of Uganda well in their
quest for glory, if indeed they are accepted for the World's in
Jeju and especially if they should come up against the likes of
Mary Kom, Cancan Ren, Tiara Brown, Queen Underwood or Katie
Taylor in South Korea.
Meantime, Philippines boxing media continue to report that there
is an ongoing 'dispute' between the AIBA and the Olympic
Committee of Asia (O.C.A) following the recent events in and out
of the ring in Incheon. The OCA were of course the organisers of
the Asiad in South Korea and seemingly have taken issue with the
AIBA on more than one count.
According to respected Yahoo Phillipines, the Indian team
management demanded a review of L Sarita Devi's lightweight
semifinal bout after the veteran was adjudged to have lost
despite a dominating performance against hometown favorite Jina
The fight which was telecast in the Philippines over TV5 showed
the Indian girl in almost total control of the bout but the
judges shocked Sarita and the crowd at the Soonhak Gymnasium
when Park was announced as the winner which left the former
Asian champion Sarita in tears.
The Philippines had suffered a similar fate when 19-year-old Ian
Clark Bautista was, they claim,robbed of a well-deserved victory
in the flyweight round of 16 against Sangkon Choe of South Korea
who inexplicably won 30-26 courtesy of a one point deduction by
the referee for ducking low and on two judges scorecards with
29-28 margins to give the hometown boxer a unanimous decision
Amateur Boxing Alliance of the Philippines executive director Ed
Picson, a close friend of AIBA President C.K.Wu, told Yahoo
Philippines he initially wanted to file a protest and pay the
$500 filing fee which would be forfeited if the protest was
turned down. He decided against pushing through with it because
under the rules the judges’ decision could not be contested and
even if the one point deduction slapped on Bautisa was removed
the Filipino would still have lost the bout.
Filipino boxer Ian Clark Bautista with ABAP president Ed
Picson. (Photo courtesy of Ronnie Nathanielsz) Filipino
boxer Ian Clark Bautista with ABAP president Ed Picson.
The decision favoring the South Korean was roundly booed by the
fans with TV5 sportscaster Charlie Cuna stating “our boxer
Bautista just got robbed . He beat up a lousy Korean fighter,
knocked him down even but lost on points. Robbery!”
ABAP president Ricky Vargas as well as Picson told Yahoo that
they “feel for the boy” who was distraught and cried on Picson’s
shoulder unashamedly and said “ I sacrificed four years for
this, only to be robbed.”
Aside from India, the delegations from Thailand, the
Philippines, Mongolia and even China have complained bitterly
about the bum officiating that recalled how the South Koreans
robbed American middleweight Roy Jones Jr blind in a gold medal
bout against a South Korean opponent which was considered one of
the worst injustices in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul after
which allegations surfaced that the judges had been bribed.
In the men’s bantamweight quarter finals Mongolia’s Nyambayar
Tugstsogt out-boxed and out-fought Korea’s Sangmeyong Han,
connecting with accurate and solid punches all to no avail as
the judges awarded the fight to the hometown fighter in another
Thailand’s London Olympian Saylom Ardee who lost to South
Korea’s Han Soon-Chul 29-28 on the scorecards of all three
judges insisted he did better than the South Korean and should
Saylom is quoted as saying: “In fact I did better (against Han)
than in the two previous fights” which the Thai boxer won.
But despite the protestations it was only the Indian delegation
who filed a protest even though they realized that it was futile
since judges’ decisions, no matter how terribly bad, cannot be
Indian head coach Fernandes blasted the officials alleging “It
was pre-decided, the 3-0 verdict is a clear-cut indication. The
Korean deserved to have been given many standing counts, going
by what happened in the ring, and the bout should have been
Fernandes fumed, "Sarita was a clear-cut winner but money has
talked here and the judges deserve to be thrown out. It happened
in Seoul during the 1988 Olympic Games, it's happening now
again. Nothing seems to have changed. The new rules have made no
Five-time world champion and a 2012 London Olympics bronze
medalist, Kom expressed her disappointment stating "I am shocked
and disappointed. Sarita was the clear winner. This should not
have happened. She lost because her opponent was a Korean."
Sarita’s husband Thoiba Singh blasted the decision and alleged
“the bout was fixed and this was an uncivilized decision” while
Sarita herself said “all the training means nothing when such
things happens. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. We
sacrifice so much, even times with our kids.”
The Indians filed a protest after Mongolia also filed a
complaint citing similar grounds of bias but both protests, as
expected, were eventually thrown out by the Games jury.
As WBAN reported at the time Devi later on refused to accept her
bronze medal during the awards ceremony and left it on the
Philippines Ed Picson decided against filing a protest and
antagonizing the Korean organizers and took the more rational
step of merely addressing a letter to Tournament supervisor
David Francis of Wales who was the highest ranking official of
the boxing tournament.
It is reported that Yahoo Philippines obtained a copy of
Picson’s letter in which he said:
Please allow me to explain my team's position regarding the bout
between our boxer Ian Clark Bautista and Korea's Choe Sangdon
and my decision to speak with you about it right after the bout.
We felt strongly that Bautista won the fight and the reaction of
the crowd reinforces that argument.
Having said that, I have been in this sport long enough to know
there will be times when things happen which strike us as
unfathomable. Then again, there have been several instances in
the tournament (not involving us) which elicited angry
reactions, not only from the participants involved, but the
crowd as well.
We are concerned that repetition of such insensitive decisions
may send the wrong signals and damage the gains the AIBA
leadership under President Ching Kuo Wu has achieved in its
avowed goal of transparency and fairness.
As you know, I considered filing a protest but after speaking
with you, thought the better of it.
I wish to make it clear that I am not accusing any of the
officials of the tournament but only wish to remind our judges
and referees to be more circumspect and focused. Perhaps a
review of the fight tape and those of other contested results is
As a brother in our beloved sport, I know you to be one of the
most upright people I have come across in boxing. The same holds
true for most of the officials working the tournament. This view
is unchanged. I only wish for our tournament to be successful
and for our sport to be free of controversy and suspicion.
I reiterate my and my federation's pledge of continued
cooperation and unwavering support for AIBA and its leadership
as well as your unenviable job as Tournament Supervisor.
May you have less headaches.
Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines
In another development the Olympic Council of Asia (O.C.A) is
said to be 'seriously displeased' that one of those subsequently
suspended by the AIBA, Indian Chef-de-Mission A.J.Sumariwalla is
in fact a representative chosen by the O.C.A and the Olympic
Council of Asia (who organised the Asian Games ) believes that
the AIBA has no jurisdiction over their employeee Sumariwalla.
You will recall that following the podium protest by Laishram
Sarita Devi, she, her coaches GS Sandhu, Blas Iglesias Fernandez
and Sagar Mal Dhayal as well as Indian chef-de-mission AJ
Sumariwalla were also suspended by the AIBA. AIBA said in its
Press release announcing the suspensions that it 'will not allow
any of them to participate at all levels of various
competitions, events and meetings until further notice'. That in
turn has angered the O.C.A and matters have since been further
complicated by media reports that following a meeting between
Sarita Devi and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the
latter has instructed the Government's sports minister to raise
the issue with the boxing authorities through the Indian Olympic
So a difficult time for the AIBA, the I.O.A and the A.O.A not
to mention the fact that the Indian boxing team is awaiting news
as to whether its team and officials will be allowed to compete
in the forthcoming AIBA World Championships in South Korea. One
possible outcome could be that the 'recently formed' Boxing
India could choose the Indian team for Jeju but would it include
such as L.Sarita Devi and MC Mary Kom ? And in the (hopefully)
unlikely event that both are excluded then what would that mean
for the Indian team and especially for boxers Sarita Devi and