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Kassim Ouma-The Dream


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His story is unlike most of other boxing champions in history. Taken as a child in his native Uganda and being forced to fight as a child soldier, before he eventually made his way back to normal life and eventually into the spotlights of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, Kassim Ouma's story is both inspirational and dramatic. Unfortunately, his ring success was rather short-lived, but he managed to capture the IBF title at 154 pounds and defeat some very good fighters. Ouma was a complete fighter who could box and brawl, take a good punch and give a good punch. Unfortunately, he remained active too long and currently his records reads 22 losses. He has also scored 29 wins, 18 inside the distance. This is the story of Kassim "The Dream" Ouma. 

He was born 12 December 1978 in Gulu, Uganda, a city in the north of the country. Born into poverty, he was kidnapped at the age of 6 and forced to join the "National Resistance Army". He did not see his family for 5 years because of that. After being released from the army, he eventually started boxing. Out of his 7 brothers and 5 sisters, only 4 brothers are still alive today. Amassing a record of 62 wins and 3 losses, he made the Ugandan national team but could not participate at the 1996 Olympics due to financial difficulties. He then went to the United States to become a pro, under the guidance of trainer Johnny Bumphus and was also trained by Ronnie Shields and Raymond Joval. He had his first pro fight on 10 July 1998 and won by KO 1 against Napoleon Middlebrooks. He scored 7 straight ko's and won the Florida State light middle title in his 7th fight. After going 9-0, he experienced a shock upset loss at the hands of Agustin Silva, 20 November 1999 in Miami; he was down three times in the first round and since the three knockdown rule was in effect, that was the end of it. 

In his next fight however, he stopped the very solid Alex Bunema of Congo by corner retirement in 4. He followed it up with another very good win over the 12-0 Kuvonchbek Toygonbaev, a solid contender at the time, winning by UD6. On 26 April 2001 he fought James Coker for the WBC Continental Americas title but the fight ended as a technical draw after 2 rounds, after Coker was cut over the right eye by accidental headbutt. He continued being impressive and beat Tony Marshall and Verno Phillips, both quality fighters, by UD 10 and also dropped Phillips once. On 10 May 2002, he won the IBF USBA title against Jason Papillion, when Papillion quit after 8 rounds due to an injured shoulder. In his next fight against Darrell Woods however, after winning by TKO 11, he tested positive for marijuana, so the result was changed into a no-contest. Since he was stripped of the USBA title for that, he once again won it against Angel Hernandez, by SD. After stopping Juan Carlos Candelo by TKO 10 in an IBF-eliminator on 3 January 2004, he finally got to fight for the IBF title against Verno Phillips, whom he already defeated. That fight happened 2 October at Caesars Palace, on the same card as Felix Trinidad-Ricardo Mayorga fight. After competitive first 10 rounds, Ouma took over in the championship rounds and Phillips went down once in the 11th and 12th and got a puff over the left eye in the 12th. In the end, Kassim Ouma entered history as he was proclaimed the winner AND THE NEW IBF champion with the scores of 117-110 and 114-113 twice.

He defended the title first against the fellow African Kofi Jantuah, a very good and hard-hitting fighter from Ghana, 29 January 2005 at Boardwalk Hall, AC. Ouma was dominant and won by a clear UD after 12 rounds. In his second defense however, he ran into more than he could handle in Roman Karmazin, who put him down twice in the third round and outboxed him enough to win in dominant fashion on all scorecards. The date was 14 July and location Orleans Hotel & Casino in Vegas, when Kassim the Dream was no longer the champion. On 27 January 2006, he managed to win the WBO NABO title by stopping Francisco Antonio Mora by TKO 8 and then defended it on 6 May against the solid contender Marco Antonio Rubio with an SD. He also handed Sechew Powell his first loss after 20 wins, by UD 10, 5 August same year. He then went up to 160 to fight the WBC and WBO champion Jermain Taylor, the new "big dog" in the division. The fight took place in Taylor's hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas and Ouma put on a good fight, even cutting Taylor over the left eye in round 5, but was in the end outgunned by the bigger and stronger Taylor, who at 6'1 was 5 inches taller than the 5'8 Ouma.

After that fight, which was on 9 December '06, he was inactive for 11 months before coming back against Saul Roman and surprisingly losing to him by SD 10. He then fought Cornelius "K9" Bundrage on 28 March 2008 and lost to him by a rather close UD 10. After also losing to Gabriel Rosado by SD 10 and Vanes Martirosyan by UD 10, he elected to move up to 160 and won the NABA title there by stopping Joey Vegas by TKO 6, 25 September 2010 in Reno. He then landed a fight against the future kingpin of the division, the freshly-crowned IBF champ Gennadiy Golovkin. The fight was held at the Arena Roberto Duran in Panama City, 17 June 2011, and Ouma impressed by lasting 10 rounds against the hard hitting destroyer from Kazakhstan, before eventually succumbing by TKO. He even gave GGG a hard fight and two of the scorecards only had Golovkin up by one point. It is safe to say that after this fight, Kassim the Dream was now a spent force-the dream was over. 

As mentioned, he has lost 9 of his last fights, 2 by stoppage. One of them however, against Fiodor Czerkaszyn, was controversial as it appeared Ouma wasn't hurt enough. He has fought as high as 175, also in his last fight, which happened 25 May 2022. Ouma moved to Amsterdam sometime after 2010 but has fought mostly in Germany in the last years. We can only hope he has retired now, because he obviously is totally washed up as a fighter and has been for a while. In 2008, a documentary was made about him, titled "Kassim the Dream". He has always been a popular fighter, but he made a mistake by moving up to 160 before he was naturally done at 154 to fight Jermain Taylor, a bigger and stronger fighter who was at his peak. Had he not done that, he might have been able to win another world belt. He certainly had the talent and ability to do that, since he was only bested by Roman Karmazin at his best-and Karmazin being a bigger and stronger man had something to do with it as well. Still, Kassim Ouma is a hero who managed to rise above his very difficult and tragic childhood and background to become a world champion. He can always be proud of that.



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