Light flyweight John Fisher Odoch will enter the ring first among the three Ugandan boxers at the 2018 World Youth Championship and his performance on Tuesday might set the pace for his colleagues in Budapest.
Odoch did not win a medal after losing his quarterfinal bout to Algeria’s Faris Djaballah at the Africa Youth Boxing championship in Casablanca, Morocco in May. He was however given a wildcard to try his luck at the Worlds, which also doubles as qualifiers for the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires in October.
Odoch, of UPDF Boxing Club, said he is readier now than three months back. “I’m now in very good shape, because we have trained enough,” said the Senior Five student at Bombo Army School. “The other time I used to commute every morning from Bombo. So, I didn’t train enough. Now my endurance and speed are very ok. I’m going for gold.”
Welterweight Muhammad Mazda is already imagining himself attracting attention and gifts after winning gold. “That gold will change my life, I will get money, gifts and my name will be popular,” he said.
The Lukanga protégé added he learnt lessons from Casablanca and more training has sharpened his lethal right hook hence victory is a huge possibility.
“The weather in Casablanca was very cold. We were not used to it. But we endured and got some victory. If Budapest is equally cold it won’t be a shock,” said captain Reagan Musoke.
Musoke, also of Lukanga, expects a better performance than that which fetched silver in Casablanca. He said his opponent at the final was more experienced but “I gave him a tough evening.” Uganda’s record in this biennial competition. In 2012 Rogers Ssemitala and Fazil Juma Kaggwa, under coach Muhammad Hassan, did not go past the first bout in Yerevan, Armenia.
John Fisher Odoch (light flyweight)
Reagan Musoke (flyweight)
Muhammad Mazda (welterweight)
Patrick Lihanda (Coach)