Fighters feel left out in the cold

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

The Gauteng Boxers Association will hold a meeting at the Johannesburg City Hall on Saturday at 9am. to prepare for the convention in January.

Jan Bergman, spokesman for the national Boxers Association, said the burning issue will be the plan to lure former fighters back to the sport.

"We also want to discuss purse monies," said Bergman.

He said Boxing SA made a promise at a convention two years ago that it would motivate to promoters to better boxers' purses.

"But nothing has happened."

The standard figure per round is R250.

"That is why most fighters turn their backs on the sport. They feel its not worth it.

"We were also promised some assistance in [acquiring] life skills.

"Even in that department nothing has happened.

"Our colleagues have absolutely nothing to fall back on once their careers are over," said Bergman.

The former WBU welterweight champion said he was speaking to the Gauteng department of sport with a view to getting assistance in this regard.

"We are not asking for handouts. We are personal trainers in our own rights - we can use our expertise and make money.

"But where do we start?" asked Bergman.

Mthobi "Choirmaster" Tyamzashe, who was chairman of Boxing South Africa at the time, launched the Boxing Foundation in May 2005.

SABC and SuperSport donated R75000 each while noxing personalities Mzimase Mnguni, Gibson Thula and Butyiki Konki pledged R10000 each, and Dan Maphalala donated R5000.

Tyamzashe said the foundation would be funded yearly by money made from veterans' national exhibition bouts, cash made from disciplinary cases, projects that would involve Boxing SA and proceeds from the sales of assets.

He said the foundation would comprise three legs - outreach programme, development and the welfare of boxers.

It was then that the Baby Champs programme was born. It has done marvelously but nothing has been done to improve the welfare of fighters.