31.01.05 – By Eddy Manning: Many mainstream boxing followers may not have seen Kasim Ouma before yesterday, but they certainly may be seeing more of him after his in ring display against Ghanas Kofi Jantuah last night. Ouma, the 26 year old native of Uganda showed great talent and guts en route to a unanimous decision over the dangerous Jantuah. With the win, it marked Oumas first defense of his IBF Junior Middleweight Title. Ouma showed courage early yesterday by standing in front of Jantuah and absorbing whatever shots the hard hitter threw, firing back at will with a wide variety of punches.. Something that was talked about in breif by the HBO team last night was Ouma’s story, a life that is going to intrigue fans in coming years. At one stage it was quoted ”His story will be a boxing urban legend in years to come”.
Born in Uganda on the 12th December 1978, Kasim was kidnapped at age 5, taken from his school with a group of other children. He was forced to join the national resistance army to fight in combat against a guerilla group. Ouma shot, killed and engaged in war from age 5, witnessing many friends die beside him. Ouma, upon getting out of the army, took up boxing and was selected for the Ugandan national team to compete in the Atlanta Olympics. Unfortunately, the team never made the trip due to financial problems but Ouma kept boxing. In January 1998 Ouma chose to stay in Washington during a team trip, hoping that he could start his pro career and win a world title in America. Apparently, Oumas reason for staying in America was to get a multi million dollar fight with Oscar delahoya so he could support his family in Uganda.
In July of 1998 Ouma turned pro and In May of 2002 he won the USBA Junior Middleweight Title against Jason Pappilion. But upon his first successful defense Oumas story took yet another twist when he was stripped for testing positive for Marijuana. In December of 2002 Ouma was shot twice by a former co worker and spent 6 months on the sideline, recovering from another near death experience.
It seemed that all the setbacks in the world were not going to stop Ouma, who kept marching on and won two IBF Title eliminators upon his return to the ring and earned a shot at the vacant IBF title. In march last year, Ouma outworked Verno Phillips over 12 rounds and won the IBF Junior Middleweight Title. It seemed like destiny to Ouma himself, but for people who heard Oumas story, it was almost fairytale like. Before yesterdays fight against Jantuah, Ouma was asked how many time he had come close to dying. “So many times,”. “I was on the front line. Everything I do now is driven by God. Whatever happens to me is supposed to be.”
As Ouma continues, in what many hope to be a long and successful career his movie script like life keeps rolling and, as more and more people read and learn about his miraculous life the interest in the talented young star will grow. Ouma seems to be swimming in the attention, lapping it up and enjoying every minute of what can only become a better life.