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Trainers irked by boxers' exodus

By unknown | Aug 02, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Black boxing trainers say honchos at SABC Sport must take full responsibility for the imminent closure of their gyms.

They say their fighters are constantly leaving them for their white counterparts because of two factors:

l The national broadcaster blemishes their chances of getting sponsors by not showing full bouts - thus making it impossible for them to guarantee business people mileage; and

l They are also complaining about the boxing slot at 10pm on Fridays. They say potential sponsors say that people who should be watching boxing are asleep at that time.

SABC used to show boxing just after football matches on Sundays and the viewership was immense. Viewers then identified fighters compared to what is happening today.

"Our fighters want sponsorships and we cannot deliver because we have nothing to give back to the sponsors. As a result these boys leave us for white trainers who enjoy support from the business world," said Norman Hlabane.

Another disgruntled trainer, Archie Nyingwa, said the exodus of black fighters to white trainers left him with scars that will never heal.

"We train and feed them with our families' monies but they leave you just like that when they are promised sponsors," he said. "I do not want a boxer nowhere near me ever again."

Black trainers say their boxers are not taken seriously when they are still up and coming.

"But once they become champions some people dangle sponsorship carrots in front of them."

There is only one trainer who benefits out of such a circumstance and that is Nick Durandt, whose gym in Bree Street is sponsored by Converse.

The sports apparel brand dresses Durandt's fighters to the nines and it gets maximum publicity from Durandt's gym which boasts 54 professional fighters (eight SA champions, five world and five WBC International titleholders).

Most of Durandt's charges' fights are on SuperSport which broadcasts all bouts in a tournament - contrary to the national broadcaster which televises main fights only.

But their predicament could be a thing of the past. Head of SABC Sports Sizwe Nzimande assured that more time will be allocated to the noble art of boxing next year when the broadcaster becomes a 24-hour sports channel.


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