Long before he took to the ring, he knew he was destined for the ring.

Born on 14 February, 1985 to Lugbara parents in the estates of Walukuba, Jinja, Farouk ‘Malingumu’ Daku is the last born in a family of four.

After losing his biological mother as a toddler, and only getting to know his father in 2011, Daku grew up an orphan living with close relatives.

He went to Main Street primary school, Maggwa primary and St Stevens in Mbikko before joining Jinja Army Boarding where he developed interest in boxing, and eventually started his boxing journey.

Daku grew up an orphan living with close relatives

“In my primary six after break time, I never wanted to go back to class. I would skip lessons, go for boxing and work as a time keeper. In the boxing gym by then, all the boxers loved me and they always wanted me to work as there time keeper in the gym,” recalls the 31 year old.

As a kid growing up, Daku a hardworking, modest and soft-spoken boy was never seen as someone throwing punches at people in the ring, rather an engineer.

They never saw me as boxer because I’m a very humble boy with both respect and love for people. They thought I’d become an engineer.

His first amateur fight came in 1997 when he took part in the National schools Championship.

Daku briefly joined Arua SSS for his secondary education before joining Destiny High School, Mengo where he studied on Bursary as a school boxer.

Unfortunately, the school was closed and he had to drop out of school in form three because his relatives could not afford to pay his school dues.

Luckily before the school’s closure, he had won both the National Juniors and the National Novice championships in 1999 as a Destiny boxer.

To emerge National Junior champion, Daku beat Kampala Boxing Club’s Charles Musamya.

The following year – the now Netherlands based – left the country to look for greener pastures.

He left the country to look for greener pastures

Rwanda was the destination, and in the year 2002, he won bronze medal for Rwanda in the Kings cup championships staged in Uganda at Lugogo indoors.

The same year, a silver medal awaited him at the African zone IV championship in Rwanda.

Daku, came back to Uganda in 2004 to take some time off boxing.

His return in 2006 saw him grace the ring as a professional boxer with Meddy Bukenya providing opposition in his debut fight at Sabrina’s pub, and the southpaw fighter emerged winner.

He has since fought 31 professional fights, winning 20 including 9 knockouts, losing 10 while drawing once, and has captured three professional belts.

In 2008, Daku outpointed Kenya’s Bernard Macholiech in the East and Central African championship to win his first professional belt, before winning bout against Oswald Maneno- the Tanzanian who sent boxing legend Godfrey Nyakana into permanent retirement in 2003 after dreadfully knocking him out at Nakivubo- to retain his title in 2010.

He came back in 2014 to fight for a vacant ECA title against another Tanzanian Ibrahim Tamba in the Super-middle weight and won the bout.

In the subsequent year, Daku overcame another Tanzanian Said Mbelwa to win the African Boxing Union title at Nakivubo.

His most recent victory came early this year in January when he beat Hungarian Joszef Karmony at Nakivubo Stadium to lift the World Boxing Forum belt which victory rates the “biggest” according to the man himself.

He is the current WBF champion.

Like earlier stated, Daku has lost some of his fights and among those defeats that left the 31 year old devastated was the fight he lost to Joosmir Poulino in the Netherlands National championship last year in October.

“I lost much weight from my normal 76kg to 72.5kg and that affected me. I was not myself anymore when I got into the ring. It created a very big change in my body and I eventually lost the fight. It really hurt.”

His journey as a boxer has seen him meet different kinds of people who have shown support, love and fed him with words of encouragement.

Among them is a Ugandan Olympic boxer Sam Rukundo.

He always told me to work hard, to perfect southpaw and concentrate on jabbing. He’d tell me ‘jab yo ekola nyo’ literally meaning ‘your jab does wonders.

Daku, like any other resolute and dedicated person has encountered obstacles along the way.

He specifically points at his love life.

“I had a Dutch woman. This lady wanted me more as her husband and not as a boxer. This didn’t work out for me. She was not interested in my career.

He was inspired by the 2004 International Boxing Federation {IBF} Junior Middleweight champion, Ouma

“We had to separate so I can follow up with my dream. I have two children with her, she lives with them and I live with my other two kids.”

Sports personalities worldwide draw inspiration from fellow sportsmen, and Daku is no different.

Seeing how his fellow countryman Kassim ‘The Dream’ Ouma went from nothing to conquering the world, the 31 year old says he was inspired by the 2004 International Boxing Federation {IBF} Junior Middleweight champion, Ouma.

“Since my days in primary school at Jinja Army, I saw Kassim.

This guy really inspired me because I saw him with Coach Kent when I was still in primary and later, saw him on pay per view in America fighting against big names like Jermain Taylor, Karmazin and winning the IBF world title to become the world champion.

Just like any African trying to realize their dreams in the field of sports, it has been a rough patchy journey for the super- middleweight boxer, but Daku a senior three dropout who now lives in Netherlands with his family says he never rues investing time on his journey.

I left Uganda because I wanted to follow my dreams as a professional boxer, fighting in Europe and worldwide. I don’t regret putting my time in boxing and I’m still on the chase.

Daku, currently ranked 210 in the super- middleweight in the world is the co-founder of a boxing promotion company named Malingumu promotions.

It is a company that has helped him boost his career both in Africa and Europe. His next fight is on 15 October in Gijon, France against Frenchman Bilel Latreche in the IBF East/West Europe championship.

Marion Malinga

Staff Writer for Kawowo Sports

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