In Summary

Rukundo refuted talk that light heavy Kennedy Katende was unfit against Britain’s Joshua Buatsi. He said Katende’s opponent was just stronger “…and anyone, however fit, can be knocked down.”

KAMPALA.

Despite coaching a winless boxing team at the recently concluded Olympics, Sam Rukundo returned from Rio de Janeiro even more ambitious.

During the National Boxing League at the MTN Arena-Lugogo, Saturday, Rukundo told Daily Monitor he is back to embark on a comprehensive plot to win Uganda medals in prestigious international tournaments.

“I took a full year-leave, so starting December, I will be here monitoring the progress of the boys, if the federation entrusts me with the top job,” said Rukundo, a resident of Uppsala-Sweden. “That way, I will dedicate to pursuing my dream of winning Uganda medals mainly in Commonwealth, World Championships and Olympics.”
At Athens 2004, Rukundo lost at the quarterfinals and is Uganda’s last boxer to win an Olympic bout.

As coach at Rio 2016, he has lessons to share.
“Boxing has changed a lot; for instance, beyond skills we must give our boxers enough of power training.

“We also need to adopt the professional style into amateur boxing because that’s the new standard. I’m here to work with the federation to implement this, first, through coaches’ clinics.”

Focussed
But since his appointment for Olympic job, many doubted Rukundo’s coaching abilities despite him being Uganda’s only Star Three coach. And the boxers’ early fall armed detractors the more. So how shall he maneuver?

“I’m not here to fight proxy battles; I’m just motivated to win medals for my country. That’s my ambition,” he said
“Whether they give me the top job or not I can help in many ways as a Ugandan. I have gyms like Sentamu, Namirembe and Nakulabye from which I can contribute.”

Rukundo squarely blamed flyweight Ronald Serugo’s controversial loss to Armenian Narek Abgaryan to lack of Ugandan officials on Aiba’s technical team.

“Serugo was very unlucky to lose that fight because he did all he had to win. But amateur boxing is nowadays a serious business; countries invest a lot in winning yet unfortunately, we (Uganda) no longer send referees/judges to such big tournaments,” he said.

Rukundo refuted talk that light heavy Kennedy Katende was unfit against Britain’s Joshua Buatsi. He said Katende’s opponent was just stronger “…and anyone, however fit, can be knocked down.”
“Well, he had some weight issues before we went Rio but we managed them.” Rukundo also noted that inadequate facilitation greatly affected their preparations. He preached unity and cursed wrangling and intrigue in the boxing fraternity.

assemugabi@ug.nationmedia.com