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Kassim Ouma's Biography

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Kassim Ouma, the IBF light middleweight boxer, was born on December 12, 1978 in Kampala, Uganda.

Not many people can have had it tougher than Kassim Ouma and yet he has successfully emerged as a boxing star.

Ouma was not yet seven when rebel guerillas snatched him and his schoolmates from their school with the aim of transforming them into children soldiers.

By 11 Kassim Ouma was a soldier in the rebel army and when they took power he became a member of the regular army.

It was boxing that led to Kassim "The Dream" Ouma's escape from the military life in Uganda into a world of opportunities.

Kassim was three-time National Ugandan and East African Amateur Champion and he told BBC Sport how he got a visa to the USA for a fight at 19, saying:

"My hero was (Uganda's former light middleweight world champion) John "The Beast" Mugabi. But I didn't think about following in his footsteps - I was just trying to be a good person.

"In 1998 I asked around for money and then worked my way to America where I was given political asylum.

"I wanted to have one fight and then go back home ..."

Instead Ouma stayed put in the States. First he became of a sparring partner for the likes of two-time world champion Zab Judah, and then he turned pro under the watchful eye of former light welterweight world champion Johnny Bumphus in Florida.

His first professional fight in July 1998 was over quickly when he knocked out Napoleon Middlebrooks in the first round.

Life still had hindrances to put in Ouma's path to success. In 2002 he was shot in a drive-by. Part of his intestine had to be removed.

In 2004, Kassim Ouma outpointed Verno Phillips to claim the IBF junior middleweight belt with a unanimous decision.

However on July 14, 2005, Ouma lost his title on a unanimous decision to Russian, Roman Karmazin.

Kassim turned to trainer Ronnie Shields to coach him, and in October 2005 he beat Alfredo Cuevas in four rounds.

Time will tell what heights Kassim "The Dream" Ouma can reach in the boxing world.

His other major goal is to be reunited with two of his three children who are in Uganda and Kassim has not seen for seven years.

In December 2006 Kassim Ouma could not prevent Jermain Taylor retaining his WBC and WBO middleweight titles, with the judges scoring the fight 118-110, 117-111, 115-113.

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