KUALA LUMPUR, 22 Sept 98 (Bernama):

BY Mohd Nasir Yusof

The curtains may already be down for the 16th Commonwealth Games but for some boxers the end of the Friendly Games marks the dawn of a new era in their sporting career.

The 11-day Kuala Lumpur 98 Games had been a recruitment ground for professional talent scouts in boxing.

Uganda for one may lose two of their boxers who have received offers to turn professional in Australia.

Ugandan boxing coach-cum-team manager Dick Katende today confirmed that two of his boys had received offers which were quite hard to resist.

"I can't say for sure as yet, but we've been talking with the Australians," he told Bernama.

The two would probably be Kassim Adam and Asikku Jackson, part of Uganda's four-man team to the Games. Jackson won the bronze in the 51kg category, Uganda's only medal at the Games.

Katende was not surprised with the offers as only a month before the Games the Ugandan national team lost two of their best medal hopes, also to professional boxing.

"The two turned professional in the United States and there was nothing much I could do as the boxers have their future to think of," he said.

Malaysia, acknowledged as an emerging force in boxing, may also lose some talents as there was talk that Rakib Ahmad and Adnan Yusoh might hang up their gloves.

The unemployed Rakib, who will get married on Oct 16, wants to look for a decent-paying stable job as he would have to shoulder heavier family commitments.

So too is Adnan, who is also unemployed and finds it tough to make ends meet when he is not getting the RM350 monthly allowance paid for attending centralised training for major meets.

While they did not specifically talk about quitting the national squad, their desire to get stable jobs should be fulfilled for them to concentrate better in the ring. -- BERNAMA


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