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THE time for boxing as a pastime is over, warns Mxolisi Gumede who is gearing himself up for a heated confrontation during the national boxing convention in Johannesburg next weekend.
The former South African lightweight champion, who now serves the sport as a promoter under Ethembeni Promotions, yesterday urged all stakeholders to attend the national boxing convention.
"That is where we must take a stand about our beloved sport, which is crumbling right now," he said.
But that will only happen after they had been briefed about the report of a two-man committee comprising Dumile Mateza and Mesuli Zifo. They were appointed by Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile to solicit the views of the boxing fraternity countrywide on the state of boxing.
Gumede, who is also chairperson of the Gauteng Promoters Association, lamented that boxing had benefited some individuals while leaving the majority behind.
He wants all concerned parties to lay a solid foundation for the next generation.
"When the time comes for us to take a back seat, we will leave behind a sport that is in shambles," he said giving an example of women's football, which started officially few a years ago but has managed to get a R10 million sponsorship.
"I'm not haggling but one thing must happen and that is to come out with something positive," said Gumede, who is not a shrinking violet when it comes to talking his mind.
"We must build a better product and add commercial to it. Sponsors will definitely have confidence in investing in the sport and that will enable boxers to earn decent purse monies."
Sowetan can reveal that there are highly placed individuals on the board of Boxing SA who would want to derail the convention.
Chairperson Peter Ngatane said: "The sooner it is done, the better for the sport." Expectations are that Stofile will appoint a new board. The term for the current board of Ngatane, Sakhiwo Sodo, Claude Bassuday and Archie Jonas ends on May 25 next year.