By Samson Opus
Ugandan fighter Joseph 'Joey Vegas' Lubega suffered a major setback after falling to a knockout (KO) against South African Ryno Liebenberg in the World Boxing Council (WBC) International light heavyweight title contest Saturday.
Liebenberg made easy work of the fight as he sent the former champion crushing after only two minutes and 56 seconds in the first round at Emperor’s Palace in Kempton Park.
The devastating blow was the second let down for Lubega inside the first round in his bid to regain the vacant title.
The Ugandan pugilist who promised his opponent of a knockout was the first to go on the receiving end barely three minutes after the gong.
The former Commonwealth silver medalist had previously won the title with a fifth round knockout against Kirt Sinnette of Trinidad and Tobago in the Port-of-Spain in 2012.
The title, however, fell vacant last year after he failed to make a six-month mandatory defence of it.
Many Ugandan boxing fans had hoped their fellow countryman would accomplish the mission at hand, but instead had to watch him taken out by his South African opponent.
Promoter Abbey Arum Mugai who led Lubega to victory in Trinidad and Tobago back in 2012 spoke of the defeat as a huge blow.
“I do not know what happened. I cannot believe myself. This is a big blow to Lubega,” said Mugai.
The result is likely to cost Lubega his 6th place in the WBC rankings which would make it very difficult for him to get a chance for a comeback.
It was the seventh loss for Lubega in his record of 24 fights. He has 16 wins (nine knockouts), 6 losses and one draw 16(KO9)-6-1.
In contrast, his South African opponent improved his clean record further to 15 wins – 11 of them by knockout.