It was at the Commonwealth of Nations Games of 1970 and 1974, that were held in the city Edinburgh in Scotland and in Christchurch in New Zealand respectively, that Uganda’s competitors were most victorious at these quadrennial events.
In 1970, Uganda’s performance in boxing was the most uplifting with Uganda winning three gold medals (James Odwori, Mohamed Muruli, and Benson Masanda) and two silver medals (Leo Rwabwogo and Deogratias Musoke). The other medals won for Uganda were on the track–William Koskei’s silver medal in the 400 meters-hurdles, and Judith Ayaa’s bronze medal in the women’s 400 meters. Uganda performed equally well at the Commonwealth Games of 1970.
Bronze medal wins in boxing, at the Commonwealth Games held in Kingston in Jamaica in 1966, by Alex Odhiambo, Mathias Ouma, and Benson Ocan were indication that Uganda was moving up in international amateur boxing ranks. Uganda’s performance at the Commonwealth Games, four years earlier (1962) in Perth in Australia, witnessed Uganda win her first Commonwealth gold by way of heavyweight boxer George Oywello. Also impressive at the venue were the boxing bronze medal wins by John Sentongo and future national army commander and Olympic Committee member Francis Nyangweso, and the silver medal won by future www.ufabet national boxing trainer Kesi Odongo. To buttress Uganda’s confidence in the realm of boxing were Uganda’s first and only Olympic medal wins, at the 1968 venue Mexico City, by boxers Leo Rwabwogo and Eridadi Mukwanga–a bronze and silver medal respectively. That is in spite of the lofty Olympic judging of 1968 and later 1972 that was seemingly tinged with racial bias and favoritism.
Edinburgh, Scotland 1970
At the 1970 Commonwealth of Nations Games, the teenager James Odwori was Uganda’s boxing competitor in the flyweight division. The beginning was quite easy for Odwori, given that he was not drawn among the four out of the total 10 flyweights that would fight in the preliminary rounds on July 17th. Since the total numbers of competitors in the very low and the very high weight divisions were relatively fewer, many were automatically placed in the next round–the quarter finals. The first flyweight quarter-finals bout was on July 20th. Odwori beat Anthony Kerr of host-country Scotland, on points, and earned his ticket to the semi-finals. In the semi-finals that involved four contenders, Odwori was again scheduled to box in the first bout. By a majority points decision, Odwori impressively beat Mickey Abrams of England, on July 22nd and was through to the finals! Odwori would move on to beat Anthony Davis of Wales by points, to win Uganda’s first 1970 Commonwealth Games gold medal. Odwori had impressively set the standard for Uganda boxers. He boxed for the Uganda Prisons and the national teams for more than ten years to come and later went back to his native Kenya where he became Kenya Prisons boxing coach and later Kenya national coach.