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 here?

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.


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 Champs program!

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 predujiced

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


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 we love.

Enough said.