Mustapha Wasajja – Uganda’s Mysterious Boxing Champion

Mustapha Wasajja – Uganda’s Mysterious Boxing Champion

Mustapha (Mustafa) Wasajja (Wassaja / Wassajja / Wasaja) was born on July 16, 1953 in Kampala, Uganda). As an newbie, Wasajja fought at welter-, light-middle-, and middle-weight. Wasajja, debilitated by weak spot and shakiness for years, ultimately succumbed to Parkinsonism on April 26 2009, close to Kampala in Uganda

Within the early 1970’s, Wasajja was below the tutelage of Uganda’s legendary and most well-known coach Peter Grace Sseruwagi (Seruwagi) and nationwide coach Kesi Odongo (who on the 1962 Commonwealth Video games held in Perth in Australia, gained a a silver medal within the light-weight division). As a light-welterweight, Sseruwagi represented Uganda on the 1960 Olympic Video games held in Rome however was eradicated exterior medal rivalry. Lengthy-time Uganda sports activities official and ex-Uganda military commander Francis (Frank) Nyangweso, a light-middleweight contender at the moment, was additionally eradicated within the earlier bouts on the similar Video games.

Wasajja’s first distinguished worldwide accomplishment got here within the African Novice Championships held in his native Uganda, in Kampala in November 1974. Wasajja gained gold within the middleweight division. Gold medal wins by fellow countrymen James Odwori (Oduori), Ayub Kalule, Vitalis Bbege, Mohamed Muruli; along with silver medal wins by Ali Rojo and Jacob Odongo, additional established two-time (1970 and 1974) Commonwealth boxing total champion Uganda as worldwide ring grasp. Earlier on in January 1974 on the Commonwealth Video games in Christchurch, New Zealand, Wasajja, as Uganda’s middleweight, was within the quarter finals knocked out within the first spherical by Les Rackley of New Zealand.

And on the World Boxing Championships held in August 1974, Wasajja was outpointed within the quarter-finals by Dragomir Vujkovic of Yugoslavia. An upcoming main outing for the fantastic Ugandans would have been on the 1976 Olympic Video games in Montreal in Canada. Many African international locations, together with Uganda, boycotted these Video games. Notable Ugandan boxers corresponding to Wasajja, Ayub Kalule, and Cornelius Bbosa (Boza-Edwards), would henceforth transfer into the rising subject {of professional} boxing. These had been the seeds of the 1980’s golden period of Uganda boxing throughout which Ugandans, notably Ayub Kalule, Cornelius Boza-Edwards, and John “the Beast” Mugabi turned skilled world champions.

Of notice is {that a} tune up for the 1976 Olympic Video games included the worldwide Pre-Olympic Boxing Match held in Montreal from November 27 to December 1, 1975. Uganda was represented by Wasajja (middleweight), laborious punching and dreaded knockout specialist and Africa Champion Vitalis Bbege (welterweight), and Jacob Odonga (light-heavyweight). Solely Wasajja emerged winner, whereas his counterparts had been defeated of their finals. Within the quarter-finals, Wasajja completely outpointed Pietro Contarini of Canada. This was adopted by Wasajja beating Jacobus Schmidt of Holland on factors. The finals concerned Wasajja beating Bryan Gibson of Canada by 4:1. Vitalis (Vitalish) Bbege was additionally scheduled to struggle for Uganda on the upcoming however aborted Olympics. Bbege quickly moved to West Germany (FDR) the place he boxed as a membership newbie and even represented Germany at a twin pleasant with the USA. He’s properly settled in Germany with household and he’s a health and boxing coach in Flensburg.

Wasajja fought in 28 official fights as knowledgeable boxer. These fights of Wasajja befell from March 1977 to March 1983, and Wasajja turned a top-ten world contender as a light-heavyweight and cruiserweight from the late 1970’s to the mid-1980’s. Apart from his final three fights, his bouts basically befell in Denmark and Norway. Of his solely skilled wins and one draw (25 bouts), 76% of them went the gap, Wasajja registering 24% as knocks-outs of his opponents. Wasajja stood out as a southpaw, a principally agile, quick, and stamina endowed puncher who would endure all of the rounds apart from ship as an influence knockout pugilist.

On September 9, 1978 in Copenhagen, Wasajja technically knocked out legendary former world light-heavyweight Bob (Robert Lloyd) Foster with a retirement within the fifth spherical. The lanky 6’3″ tall Foster, thought of one of many world’s all-time (light-heavyweights) greats had through the years been in lots of vicious battles with notable fighters, together with epic heavyweights like Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and Ernie Terrel. He’s thought to be one of the best boxer to have hailed from the USA state of New Mexico. Foster achieved blended outcomes when preventing the heavyweight boxers. Foster had additionally retired a number of instances and made comebacks. When Foster battled Wasajja, he was aged 40 and undoubtedly well beyond his prime. After yet one more struggle thereafter (a rematch with Bob Hazelton during which Foster was knocked), Foster would retire for the final time. Wasajja was solely 25 at the moment. Foster lay his gloves down, ending with a wonderful 56 wins (46 by knockout) and eight losses.

From his skilled debut in March 1977 till February 13, 1982, Wasajja achieved a 100% profitable streak. It was then that he battled legendary Michael Spinks (later to grow to be World Heavyweight Champion) for the light-heavyweight crown, within the New Jersey Atlantic Metropolis within the USA. Wasajja’s crossing the Atlantic for an opportunity on the belt, spelled his demise. Previous to the struggle with Spinks, Wasajja, thought to be a thriller man (whose names had been tough to spell) by the American followers and writers turned the primary ranked contender for the WBA light-heavyweight crown. Beforehand, in 1980, Wasajja had grow to be the Third-ranked WBA contender.

Subsequently, Wasajja was knocked out by Spinks within the sixth spherical, and subsequently did not seize the World Boxing Affiliation (WBA) title. In July of the identical yr, Wasajja misplaced his subsequent bout (which went the gap) to Tony Mundine in France, and thereafter in Lusaka (Zambia), Wasajja was knocked out by Zambian Lottie Mwale in solely three rounds, and thus failing to seize the British Commonwealth Mild-heavyweight title. At age 29 Wasajja had fought his final skilled struggle. Undoubtedly, the final three had been bouts had been Wasajja’s hardest and most vital; they had been in opposition to sport opponents. Sadly, it was within the three that Wasajja succumbed. These three considerably injured and uncovered Wasajja’s weaknesses. However, Wasajja established himself as one of many biggest Uganda boxers, and considerably as one of many biggest among the many pioneering Uganda skilled boxers.

Of notice, Lottie Mwale, who was the identical age as Wasajja, boxed professionally till 1994; he stands out as one of many biggest of African boxers. He participated in 53 skilled bouts gained most of them by knockout and was additionally an African Boxing Union (ABU) champion. The best Zambian boxer succumbed in 2005, at age 53, to Parkinsonism which is identical affliction that legendary Muhammad Ali endures. Zambians, with their love for boxing, apparently harbor an appreciably enduring reminiscence of Mustapha Wasajja. And Zambians, have for many years been conventional boxing rivals of Ugandans. Charles Chisamba, the Zambian light-heavyweight champion, carries the nickname, “Wasajja” (“Wasaja”). On January 24, 2009 in Lusaka, Chisamba outpointed Tanzania’s Mbaruku Kheri in an African Boxing Union (ABU) light-heavyweight vacant title and thus turned Africa champion. Wasajja has guided younger and promising boxers at Mulago Yellow Boxing Membership, a few of whom have starred as professionals overseas…primarily in Europe, notably within the Scandinavian international locations.

In an October 8 2005 article by Moses Mugalu within the Uganda newspaper “Day by day Monitor,” Wasajja is alleged to speak about having invested in Kenya companies (along with long-time boxing counterpart Ayub Kalule) after retirement from boxing, on till 1990. However Wasajja claimed to have ultimately been duped by Kenyan enterprise counterparts; a consequence of which he turned a poverty-stricken slum dweller in Mulago in Kampala. His 5 kids had been equally struggling, some younger and never enrolled at school. Wasajja recounted his memorable newbie exhibition bout along with his government President, Idi Amin, quickly after Wasajja gained the Africa Championships title within the sequence held in Kampala in 1975. Wasajja was obligated to lose in that puppet bout. Within the “Monitor” interviews, Wasajja is described as weakly, frail, shaky, and infrequently stammering,” however that each his reminiscence and speech are fairly targeted and clear; and he maintains his delight and humor.

Within the Uganda newspaper, “Bukedde,” dated July 28 2008, an ailing bedridden Wasajja mentions to Ibrahim Katongole that it’s his kids Rehemah Namuddu, Nakayiwa and Salif Abdul who are likely to him. Based on a former nationwide boxer, Charles Lubulwa, a few of Wasajja’s sufferings stemmed from disconnecting himself from the boxing our bodies and individuals that had employed him and supported him throughout his boxing profession overseas. They’d, largely, misplaced contact with him.

As regards the memorable struggle with Michael Spinks during which he misplaced in 1982, Wasajja strongly suspects that meals given to him previous to the struggle (in Atlantic Metropolis, New Jersey) was tainted and consequently weakened and disabled him: he claimed that foul play was concerned in his shedding the struggle. This was Wasajja’s most memorable and most prestigious struggle. And who knew? Wasajja fought with the 2 Spinks brothers who turned world heavyweight champions! One of many brothers beat Muhammad Ali, and the opposite was crushed by Mike Tyson, amongst different issues! Additionally, notably, Wasajja fought throughout an period thought to be a golden one for light-heavyweights. These included Michael Spinks, Dwight Mohammed Qawi (previously Dwight Braxton), Eddie Mustafa Muhammad (previously Eddie Gregory), Marvin Johnson, and Mathew Saad Muhammad (previously Mathew Franklin, and born Maxwell Antonio Loach).

Wasajja was a notable newbie Uganda boxing champion and an Africa newbie boxing champion, however his wins weren’t as many or as placing as these of his counterparts corresponding to Ayub Kalule and James Odwori. Within the skilled ranks he rose to distinguished heights, however he didn’t win that coveted world title. Wasajja’s fame is intertwined along with his being a mysterious Ugandan champion, one who had pictures at each world title and the Africa skilled title however got here in need of profitable. Wasajja, Uganda’s mysterious champion turned excellent as one in every of Uganda’s pioneering skilled boxers, a type of who had the audacity to problem a number of the greatest boxers on the globe.

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