Affable Ouma not looking past Jantuah
By Jess E. Trail (January 17, 2005) 
Photo © Brendon Pierpaoli, DHB
Kassim Ouma is talented. He is diligent. He is relentless. He is the IBF 154lb king. He is also approachable and pleasant outside the ring. I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with him recently.

It’s an amazing phenomenon to watch a fighter who, though human, can punch endlessly as if not bound by the same physical laws as the rest of us. If you have ever tried to box for any length of time, you know that it is one of the most exhausting things you will ever do. It is in this context that I appreciate the preparation, combined with the willpower of Kassim 'The Dream' Ouma.

Ouma has not had an easy road. He was in the Ugandan military at an age at which most kids’ military exposure is playing with their G.I. Joe. He was the victim of a drive-by shooting in 2002. As tough and as physically taxing as the sport is, Ouma has seen tougher.

Inside the ring, he considers his toughest fight the title winning effort against Verno Phillips last October via unanimous 12-round decision.

“He gave me hell,” admitted Ouma, who also hold a ten round decision victory over Phillips in their first meeting back in September 2001.

On January 29th in Atlantic City Ouma will be defending his IBF junior middleweight crown for the first time against Kofi Jantuah in the main support bout to Arturo Gatti versus Jesse James Leija. But don’t expect Ouma to discuss any potential fights that may take place after that date.

When I asked him about hopes he might have after January 29, he replied, “I’m not looking past my opponent, so I don’t really want to answer that.” This wasn’t the parroting of a cliché. Ouma is singularly focused on Jantuah.

“He’s a tough cookie.”

Ouma comes across as the type of guy who gives respect automatically, unless of course the respect isn't reciprocated.

“What goes around comes around," Ouma responded when asked about the one-sided nature of his March 2004 bout with JC Candelo. "He was doing a lot of talking…saying he was going to send me back on the banana boat…what goes around comes around.”

Kassim Ouma is highly skilled, well conditioned and always ready. He respects opponents. Based on the results of the Candelo fight, I recommend reciprocation..

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