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Boxers reel as BSA ask 'what fund'?

By Reports by Bongani Magasela | 2013-10-03 06:49:40.0

BOXING South Africa (BSA) faces a fresh crisis after it emerged that boxers are no longer fully insured.

Stakeholders were surprised when they were informed during Gauteng's provincial boxing indaba that the 40-year-old benevolent fund all boxers have been contributing 1,5% of their purse to - no longer existed.

Boxers contributed towards the fund on the understanding that the money they paid over the years would be reimbursed back to them when they retire from the sport.

BSA's licensee, former IBF junior featherweight champion Jeffrey Mathebula, recalled the heartbreak he went through after he broke his jaw in two places in a unification fight against WBO champion Nonito Donaire 15 months ago in Las Vegas.

Mathebula's hospital expenses reportedly rose to about R73 000 and he was assisted by his promoter, Branco Milenkovic.

The boxer, who has since recovered, said he was not worried when his hospital bills escalated because he thought he was covered by his contributions to the benevolent fund.

But Mathebula got the shock of his life when he approached BSA to try to access the fund.

''I was told there was no money," he said.

BSA is on record as saying that the benevolent fund has been closed down but surprisingly, the sport's national governing body continues to deduct 1,5% from boxers' purses.

A former multiple world champion, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also confirmed this yesterday.

''Boxing SA claims that promoters are exploiting us but considering the recent developments regarding the fund, as well as our tax issues, it makes one wonder who is really exploiting us," he said.

However, BSA's acting CEOLoyiso Mtya insisted that the benevolent fund was stopped when the sport's body came into being in 2001.

''A lot of boxers were given their monies. When we came in as Boxing SA we took [out] an insurance which pays for boxers' deaths or disability and hospitalisation," said Mtya.

''All boxers who died with injuries from the ring were paid. Disabled boxers were also paid their money.

''But that still gives us lots of challenges. We are deciding to move away from it [the insurance].

"We are looking for a company that has the competency to do that and boxers will deal directly with that company."

Regarding Mathebula, Mtya, said: ''Our policy says we are to pay up to R10 000 for [his] hospitalisation."