The youngest boxer of the Games, Uganda’s Isaac Zebra Ssenyange Jr. follows his boxing legend father’s pathway
July 30th, 2022 / Commonwealth Games 2022
One of the legendary captains of Uganda’s national team, called the Bombers, was Isaac Zebra Ssenyange. He had 195 wins and 19 losses during his fifteen years long boxing career and led the Bombers at the 2011 All Africa Games. The super heavyweight boxer turned to professional career in 2012 and won several big fights. He also owned the Zebra Boxing Club in Uganda and supported the work of the local federation until he died in 2020.
His son, the 18-year-old Isaac Ssenyange Jr. made his debut at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham yesterday and made his team proud by showcasing great technical skills. He started competing in January at the Uganda Boxing Champions League and despite losing his first contest to John Owino, he defeated older rivals and gained the right to compete at the Commonwealth Games.
His first ever international competition was the Mount Kilimanjaro International Boxing Tournament in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania this May where he defeated two opponents and lost to a local veteran.
Isaac Zebra Ssenyange Jr. faced Lesotho’s Arena Pakela in the first preliminary round of the light middleweight (71kg) and opened the bout with good chances against his opponent. Ssenyange used his height against the experienced boxer from Lesotho and the Ugandan southpaw landed several nice punches however Pakela won the contest by split decision. The 18-year-old Ugandan dedicated his fight to his father’s memory and showed true commitment to his first major elite championships.
“My father was an icon in boxing, he is well-known in Uganda and I am trying to follow his pathway in his beloved sport. He was the most influential person in my whole life, and he motivated me. Before he died, he asked me to continue my hard work and never give up. We prepared for me to be here to participate in this Commonwealth Games, we discussed it several years ago. One of my relatives is my manager now, and I follow his advice in our daily work.
I have just joined the elite age group and it is totally different from youth boxing, the punches are stronger and I have to face older and stronger boxers. I had three contests at the Uganda Boxing Champions League, lost the first one but won the next two this year.
I know that I am only 18, I have to be patient and the Commonwealth Games are just the start of my career. After the Games, I will continue my preparation for the next events, and I hope I will be able to make a great impact at the All Africa Games in 2023. I would like to compete in IBA-sanctioned and other top championships in the future and represent Uganda,” said the 18-year-old Isaac Ssenyange Jr. in the venue.