International Boxing President Commissions Construction of Multibillion Academy

The International Boxing Association-IBA president, Umar Kremlev has commissioned the construction of a multi-purpose boxing Academy in Wakiso district. The construction will take place on a 10-acre piece of land donated by Buganda kingdom in Gombe division in Nansana Municipality.

Kremlev, who is on a one-day visit to Uganda was escorted by the African Boxing President Confederation, Bertrand Mendouga, Vice President, Omar azanye, and Kenya Boxing Federation President, Anthony Otieno Ombok among other boxing officials. Kremlev donated the facility valued at 5 million USD in 2021 following a request by Moses Muhangi, the President of the Uganda Boxing Federation.

“With this letter, I declare to build a boxing academy in Uganda that will offer a comprehensive range of training opportunities courses, and certification under one roof for further development of boxing,” said Kremlev in his March 1st, 2021 offer letter.

“The Academy is planned to be full-sized and equipped so that all potential boxers, officials, and other stakeholders have access to its facilities. Moreover, the Academy will provide core and supporting programs to cover key areas and components: development courses for athletes, coaches, R&J, sport, and competition managers,” the letter added.

However, the project was delayed for nearly two years after the local Boxing Federation failed to secure land to host it as required by Kremlev. This prompted Buganda Kingdom to provide the land for the project. Addressing local boxers and residents of Gombe village who gathered to welcome him, Kremlev said that through his interpreter that he was happy to see hundreds of young children from Uganda glorifying boxing.    

He further said that he is happy to do the groundbreaking for the boxing Academy, which he believes will give an opportunity to upcoming boxers with enough equipment and help them shape up for international boxing competitions.

He, however, didnt give a timeline for when the Academy will be finished. Once accomplished the facility is expected to provide core and supporting programs to cover key areas and components, development courses for athletes, coaches, Referees and Judges, and competition managers.  

It is also designed to have a training hall, competition arena, swimming pool, gym and fitness center, athletes’ accommodation, and sports shopping center among other provisions. Kremlev also donated boxing gloves to pugilists who welcomed him in Gombe as well as residents of the village. 

Augustine Ssemwanya, one of the locals told URN that the academy will be beneficial to their children who want to pursue a career in boxing and that bringing such a chance to their hometown tremendously motivates many of their youngsters.  

The boxing Federation lacks its own training facility and a competitive arena. The Federation has had difficulties whenever a national team is required to be in camp to prepare for international contests. 

For many years, boxing was one of Uganda’s most active and successful sports, claiming many medals in the Commonwealth, Olympic, and All-African games, as well as producing many of the world’s crème de la crème, including Eridadi Mukwanga, John Mugabi, Benson Masanda, Ayub Kalule, Justin Juuko, and Godfrey Nyakana, among others.  

Despite the periodic efforts by the local Federation to promote boxing, the sport has been declining in recent years. John Mugabi was the last boxer to bring Uganda a silver medal during the 1980 Summer Olympics in the Welterweight category.  

Kremlev arrives at a time when the local Boxing Federation is lobbying the government to rescind its previous decision to prohibit boxing in schools. Boxing was barred in schools earlier in 2009 after the then Education and Sports Commissioner, Dan Tamwesigire, cited anxiety about the safety of amateur boxers in schools, citing the fighters’ incapacity to endure punches to the head.

Until it was halted, schools such as Kololo SS, Dynamic SS, and Kisugu SS, among others, were dominating competitions and producing top boxers such as Godfrey Nyakana and others.

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