Fight licence revoked

Lehlohonolo Ledwaba. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 02/07/2007. © Sowetan.
Lehlohonolo Ledwaba. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 02/07/2007. © Sowetan.

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

It is the end of the road for Lehlohonolo "Hands of Stone" Ledwaba.

Three weeks after pleading poverty because of a lack of fights, Ledwaba was yesterday floored by a decision by Boxing South Africa (BSA) to cancel his fight licence because of a botched eye operation performed in August.

This means Ledwaba, from White City in Soweto, will forfeit the purse he was due to get from the showdown with red-hot Malcolm Klassen that was scheduled for tomorrow.

A former multiple champion with belts for the World Boxing Union bantamweight and featherweight divisions, the International Boxing Federation junior featherweight division and the World Boxing Association Pan African junior lightweight division, Ledwaba had hoped to punch his way to more money-spinning bouts.

Loyiso Mtya, BSA's public relations officer, said a medical checkup on Monday revealed that Ledwaba had blurred vision.

"This is the saddest thing ever for me to confirm since I have been in this position. Yes, his licence has been revoked by BSA. He cannot ever fight again," said Mtya.

Ledwaba's only source of income is boxing.

Surprisingly, the soft-spoken, 36-year-old fighter's mentor, Norman Hlabane, said nothing had been communicated to him.

"It's news to me. All I can tell you now is that we have a meeting with Dr Peter Ngatane [today]. He will tell us exactly what is happening," he said.

Ledwaba was scheduled to fight Klassen at Emperors Palace tomorrow night in a Golden Gloves promotion. Golden Gloves boss Rodney Berman confirmed that the eagerly awaited fight had been canned. Klassen could fight Edward Mpofu if boxing authorities approve the fight, he said.

"I just feel sorry for Ledwaba. He was loyal to me and I will do a benefit tournament for him as I have done with my other previous former fighters," he said.

Ledwaba won the IBF belt under Berman in 1999. He defended it five times before losing to Manuel Pacquiao in 2001.

Ledwaba was not available for comment.