- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Former junior middleweight titlist Kassim Ouma is making a comeback Wednesday night.
It’s one of those kind of low-level fights for Ouma to see where he is after a 2 1/2-year layoff that followed a bad stretch.
Ouma (27-8-, 17 KOs) is scheduled to face an opponent you surely have never heard of, Rahman Mustafa Yusubov (9-12, 7 KOs), on a club show at the EconoLodge and Conference Center in Allentown, Pa.
It’s not very glamorous, but it’s a start for Ouma, who is being trained by Yoel Judah, Zab’s father. When I ran into Yoel Judah on Saturday night in Brooklyn, N.Y., where Zab lost to Paulie Malignaggi, he told me that Ouma has been looking good in camp (of course, he would say that) and that he is anxious to get back in the ring. Judah also said Ouma is taking the comeback seriously and has knocked off the partying ways that certainly hastened his decline.
Ouma, who turns 35 the day before the fight, has lost three of his last four bouts and has not fought since getting stopped in the 10th round of a middleweight world title fight against Gennady Golovkin in June 2011 in Panama. Although Ouma lost, he gave Golovkin a very tough fight, easily the hardest of his title reign.
“I am ready to make it happen. I have been training for three months right now,” Ouma said. “I haven't fought in a long time so I have been training. My blueprint for 2014 is to become a world champion. I also want to fight in bigger fights and send my kids to college.
“Fans can expect that Kassim is back. Fans that have believed in me will know that I am back and fans who don't believe in me will know that I am back. I know that I can still do it. I am coming back at 154 pounds to prove I am back and I still have it in me.”
Ouma, known to many for his personal story of being kidnapped in his native Uganda and forced to serve as a child soldier, won a junior middleweight title by unanimous decision against Verno Phillips in 2004. Ouma made one successful defense against Kofi Jantuah and then lost the title to Roman Karmazin on a decision in July 2005. In Ouma’s other world title fight, he lost a decision to then-middleweight champion Jermain Taylor in 2006.