Rwandan boxing appears to be heading in the right direction following a successful friendly youth tournament organised by the local boxing governing body (RABA) on Saturday at Amahoro Indoor Stadium where the hosts trounced their visiting opponents from Uganda 8 bouts against 4.
The one-day competition featured boxers from the Rwanda national team academy and their Ugandan counterparts from Namungona, Ssentamu and Copab boxing clubs, fighting in different age and gender categories; ranging from 8-10 years and 17-34 years.
In the 17-34 years category, Rwanda’s Vincent Sengiyumva beat Alex Kakoza 3-0 in what was the main event of the tournament.
Speaking to Times Sport after the tournament, RABA president Vick Kalisa said the event was aimed at giving competition exposure to the young and upcoming local pugilists as well as scouting for new talents.
“Once you start playing from the grassroots that’s when you gain more, and we need these young talents to come through and replace the older ones. It’s good for them to fight foreign boxers because they can’t learn much from fighting just amongst themselves,” said the former national team boxer.
Kalisa said the tournament is the result of unity after warring factions in local boxing came together and formed a new executive committee in May.
The Ugandan national youth team and Copab coach, Lawrence Kalyango, said the tournament was a good learning experience for their youthful players.
“The whole event went well although we would have liked to win each fight but we didn’t, nonetheless, we want more opportunities for our young talents to expose themselves,” noted Kalyango.
It is planned that Rwanda’s youth team (13-14 years) will have a trip to Uganda in December.
Emmanuel Bugingo, the Director of Sports in the Ministry of Sports and Culture, who was the guest of the honour, encouraged RABA not to rest but instead organise more competitions as the only way through which the sport can regain its footing among the mainstream games in Rwanda.
He said, “You should continue organising such competitions and the ministry will support you,” before reminding RABA about their obligation to acquire legal status, “once you have it, the ministry will be able to offer you financial assistance.”
This is second tournament RABA is organizing after the Genocide Memorial tournament in July.