Boxing SA must take full responsibility for the chaotic embarrassment at Mdantsane Indoor Centre on Friday night.
Promoter S'Phatho Handi's boxing tournament was to feature an IBO, two WBF and two SA title fights. But it was reduced to a one-bout tournament due to Handi's failure to raise funds.
Nkosinathi Joyi was to defend the IBO mini flyweight belt against Lorenzo Trejo in the main fight, Ludumo Galada, the WBF featherweight holder, was defending against Pedro Navarette while Lubabalo Msuthu and Jose Cabrera were to contest the vacant WBF bantamweight strap.
Trejo, Navarette and Cabrera are from Mexico.
SA heavyweight champion Osborne Machimana was challenged by Myan Solomons while Thembelani Maphuma was supposed to defend the national junior bantamweight strap against Themba Joyi.
Handi, whose sponsor Nestlife pulled out at the 11th hour, failed to meet Boxing SA's obligation to deposit purse monies 14 days before the event. He did not even pay the officials.
Under normal circumstances the tournament should have been called off. But the governing body bent backwards in the hope that Handi would raise the funds. Boxing SA went ahead with the weigh-in on Thursday.
But on Friday Zeke Lunar, who brought the Mexicans here, made it clear that his charges would not fight. Handi ran helter-skelter in an attempt to get money.
Apparently, this general secretary of the ANC in Eastern Cape went to the office of the department of arts and culture to seek finance, and he came back with a letter signed by head of department Bubele Mfenyana assuring that R1 million will be made available on Wednesday.
Lunar's response to that letter was simple: "We will fight on Wednesday. We were supposed to get the money six weeks ago. How can I be convinced that we will get it on Wednesday."
Only the Maphuma-Joyi (Themba) fight took place. Maphuma was dethroned via a sixth round stoppage.
Fight fans, who paid R100 were not aware that there was trouble brewing but soon all came into the open. Handi, who had arrived late - smartly dressed and smiling as if all was well - was pelted with missiles. Yours truly was hit on the head with a plastic bottle.
Handi and Sakhiwo Sodo and Mxolisi Tsika, both Boxing SA board members, tried to explain but they were not allowed to talk. Some of the angry fans then invaded the ring while others demanded their money back.
It got uglier until promoter Phathekile Sinyabi took charge.