Boxing on the Ropes - by Jeff Ellis
As the year draws to a close we find
ourselves looking for the answers, where
to does boxing in South Africa go to from
Boxing South Africa faces a mammoth
task of maintaining the day-to-day running
of professional boxing. A number of incidents has prompted the Minister of Sport to appoint a task team to investigate the problems that are troubling boxing. With the report now concluded boxing people are waiting for the Honorable Minister to respond.
BABY CHAMP PROGRAM.
According to recent news reports, BSA
has spent in excess of R1.2million on the
Baby Champ program. Money they never had. The question that needs to be asked is - “Has the program been successful, or has it become a burden to Boxing South Africa”?
If financial aid (government or a sponsorship)
is not forthcoming, this may
very well be the end of the Baby
Unfortunately the professional Baby
Champs program is a direct copy of the
amateur code that has been in existence
for over 100 years. There is only one difference
in its entirety and that is that a
Baby Champ cannot defend his title or
enter the program again.
The Baby Champ retains the belt even if he took 1 fight to win it. This supports the assumption that belts don’t mean much in today’s boxing.
The South African Championship beltis a far cry from the prestige Old Buck
Belt that was once proudly displayed around the waist of our great champions.
With all the interim titles now doing
their rounds I have lost count of all the
different belts. Soon we will have boxers owning 10 belts without winning a legitimate title.
The program is enticing amateur boxers
to turn professional, long before they
are ready to step up into professional boxing. The reason for this is simple –
professional boxers get paid.
It is common knowledge that any
South African amateur champion making
waves, will soon be recognized and
snapped up in the professional ranks by
the top promoters – that is what boxing
is all about.
The real need here is to support the
amateurs in order to produce the next
generation of boxers that will move into the pro ranks.
With our poor showing at the Bejing Olympics it is evident that the problem needs to be addressed.
The first and foremost duty of BSA is
without a doubt to protect the boxer. We
are in danger of a tragedy happening if we continue to cutoff the amateurs.
Loyiso Mtya is a hard worker and an
asset to the sport. Mtya and Boxing
South Africa need to take the bull by the
horns – so to speak and appoint people
who are experts in their respective
fields, people who can pull boxing out of
it’s downhill spiral.
Talking about protecting the boxers…
Meeting up with Jan Bergman at John
Kriege’s Gym in Edenvale was an interesting
interview. Jan is the elected representative of all licensees (boxers) in South Africa.
He tells me that he has found that
boxers are afraid to speak out for fear of
victimization. He states that boxers are influenced by managers who in turn fear
the promoters. In this way you have a no win situation.
He says it all boils down to the “slave”
managerial and promotional contracts
forced upon them by Boxing South Africa. He sites the inadequate protection
of boxers by BSA as the reason for the slump in boxing, claiming that only boxers who toe the line will get fights.
I am inclined to agree with Jan. My
view is that the present contracts only
protect the manager and the promoter.
Another interesting discussion is the
way fighters are paid after a fight. Once
a contract is signed between a manager
and a fighter, the fighter loses the right
to control his hard-earned purse money.
If for example a fighter earns R5000.00 for a fight, 25% is deducted for Tax and 25% is deducted and paid directly to the manager. The fighter only receive R2500.00
In my view this practice is not of order.
The fighter has no say if there is a discrepancy.
Jan spells it out in one word
these contracts are “slave” contracts.
In these circumsatances a boxer is
In question: ARTICLE OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN BOXER AND MANAGER. 2.2 of the above agreement states The Manager shall not make arrangements for the Boxer to participate in a boxing contest where the manager has a direct or indirect financial or other interest in the Boxer’s opponent.
So what happened to the rule of law
when CASSIUS BALOYI fought MALCOLM
TWO TOP FIGHTERS SIT IN LIMBO
Four months after testing positive for
using a banned substance Jared Lovett
is yet to be called to a hearing. Guilty or not how pathetic is that?
Daniel Bruwer was so badly humiliated
to the point of him losing his SA title.
Talk about protection of the slaves!
Next year I hope to witness a more
humanitarian approach towards the
fighters that risk their lives for the sport