Buqwana wants GGP apology

Alfred Buqwana, the boxing official who is at the centre of bribery allegations, has demanded a public apology from Golden Gloves Promotions (GGP) for insinuating that he tried to extort a bribe from them.

Alfred Buqwana, the boxing official who is at the centre of bribery allegations, has demanded a public apology from Golden Gloves Promotions (GGP) for insinuating that he tried to extort a bribe from them.

Buqwana's demand follows a week of drama in the aftermath of Mzonke Fana's IBF junior lightweight title clash against Malcolm Klassen.

Fana, who is promoted by Branco Milenkovic, dethroned GGP fighter Klassen of his IBF crown at OR Tambo Hall in Khayelitsha in Cape Town a fortnight ago.

Buqwana and his Cape Town counterpart Deon Dwarte scored the fight 116-113 and 116-112, respectively, in favour of Fana, overruling East London judge Lulama Mtya whose scorecard read 115-114 in Klassen's favour.

Soon after the verdict was announced GGP boss Rodney Berman alleged that Buqwana had sought financial assistance to attend the IBF convention in Florida at the end of the month from GGP secretary Shona McTaggart weeks before the fight.

But on Monday Buqwana denied ever seeking assistance from GGP.

"This incident happened on March 26, when I was chatting to Shona about going to the convention," he said. "She told me she was attending the convention and I told her she was lucky because I was still raising funds to also attend.

"Indeed, I managed to raise the funds weeks before the Fana-Klassen fight."

Buqwana, who has been officiating for more than 32 years, said he was disgusted by GGP's accusations.

"I could not believe it when I saw Rodney Berman (GGP boss) on television making such allegations."

Buqwana said he had written a letter of complaint to Boxing SA about the matter. Buqwana, a former professional fighter, claimed he should be the one complaining about Berman for interfering with his work during the fight. This happened when Berman allegedly wanted to see how Buqwana was scoring the fight in the ninth round.

"He came over me to peep at my scorecard," he said. "Luckily, the IBF supervisor saw him and ordered him to leave me alone."

Buqwana, whose boxing officiating achievements includes being a judge in the world heavyweight title bout between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson in 2002, is planning to retire at the end of the year.

Just when he is ready to reflect on the good years of boxing officiating he has had, his farewell is suddenly put under the spotlight.

BSA spokesman Loyiso Mtya said a decision over the allegations would be taken today. - Sapa

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