Angry fight fans bemoan the absence of the “Storm” - by Terry Pettifer

Over the festive period one of the most frequented asked questions in watering holes south of Johannesburg, was; “when will Jared Lovett fight again?”

One of the most colourful and exciting local pugilists in years, Lovett’s smoldering good looks and deadly efficiency made him an overnight drawcard and notwithstanding his ‘out-of- the-ring’ escapades, which resulted in several charges of assault, the “Storm” was unquestionably a sure-fire seller at the box-office.

Yet since being tested positive for a banned substance following his split-decision loss to Tommy “Tommy Gun” Oosthuizen on July 11, 2009, and informed that he would have to appear before a disciplinary hearing, Lovett’s ring career has ground to a complete halt.

“Why haven’t BSA (Boxing South Africa) as yet had their hearing six months down the line?” asked one angry fight buff. “It’s a bloody disgrace the way that Lovett has been treated” quipped another, while veteran fight follower Paul Hetz made it known that BSA were, in his opinion, discriminating against Lovett, and called for an inquiry into their motives.

Clearly though, the vast majority of boxing fans have bemoaned the fact that Lovett is no longer part of the fistic scene, especially those residing in the Southern Suburbs.

Not that every hamburger-eating southerner is a fervent Lovett acolyte. In fact the Storm has almost as many detractors as he has fans, but even those who dislike his reputation as a ‘street fighter’ agree that he should be afforded the opportunity of making an honest living, and where Lovett is concerned, that means wielding his rockhard fists in the close confines of a roped square.

Lovett’s father Aubrey has commendably dealt with the avalanche of criticism that has come his son’s way and yet no one can blame him for feeling totally despondent at the manner in which his son has been treated. “All we want is a fair and impartial hearing” said Lovett Snr, “but when is that going to happen?”

Boxing Promoter Jeff Ellis of African Ring has never made a secret of his fondness for the Lovett’s and while he too was critical of the Storm’s involvement in street altercations, he was equally straight-forward when it came to assessing the motives that triggered the 22-year-old fighter’s fiery responses. “People can say what they like but the bottom line is that Jared was repeatedly hounded by thugs looking to make a name for themselves and most of his street battles were not of his own doing.

I ask you, what was Lovett supposed to do when a carload of guys attacked him while he was out with his girlfriend”.

Meanwhile, amidst rumours that Lovett could be slapped with a two-year suspension, BSA has yet to establish a date for his L-O-N-G overdue hearing.

“It’s actually a tragedy” said former heavyweight contender Ron Ellis, “because you have to admit that young Jared has loads of talent and given sufficient guidance and the necessary breaks, he could yet establish himself as a bona fide star”.

A professional since April 2008, Lovett won his first six bouts on stoppages en route to being nominated as SA boxing’s “Prospect of the Year” for 2008. Numbered among his victims were the likes of Gerson Singo ( WTKO 2), Ayanda Nongena (W-TKO 2), Ben Moakamela (W-TKO 2), Toto Mubenga (WKO 2), Ronnie Lategan (W-KO 2) and Fernando Roberto Vera (W-TKO 1).

Most observers felt that he’d been comprehensively outpointed by Tommy Oosthuizen and while two judges had the Tommy Gun in front by scores of 97-93 and 100-91, the third ringside judicator Lulama Mtya saw Lovett ahead by a solitary point; 96-95, a score-sheet that even the fighter’s father Aubrey disagreed with.