Purse bid to decide IBF eliminator

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

The promotional rights of the IBF lightweight elimination fight between Ali Funeka and American Zahir Raheem will be decided in a purse bid at the IBF's offices in New Jersey, US, next Tuesday.

IBF president Marian Muhammad said yesterday that the failure of both fighters' promoters - Branco Milenkovic and Tomy Holden - to reach an agreement had prompted them to call for a purse bid.

Raheem is rated third, while Funeka, the WBC International champion from the famed Eyethu Boxing Gym of promoter Mzimase Mnguni in East London, is rated fifth.

On March 13 the IBF ordered both fighters to begin negotiations and reach an agreement on March 27, which was within the time-frame set by the IBF.

But that did not happen and the IBF has since advised Milenkovic and Holden to submit a non-refundable R40000 participation fee, and to also submit 10 percent of the total amount of the bid.

"Within five days following the purse bid procedure, the winning promoter must forward another cheque to this office representing 10 percent of the bid, for a total of 20 percent of the total amount bid," the IBF said in a letter.

Milenkovic said he would submit a substantial amount to win it because he intended to stage the fight in South Africa.

"This is a very big fight. Funeka and I think fighting at home will propel him to victory," Milenkovic said yesterday.

Raheem will be an acid test for Funeka, whose only defeat against 29 wins (24 KOs) and two draws was against Mzonke Fana.

The winner between Funeka and Raheem will earn the right to challenge newly crowned IBF champion Nate Campbell, who rose from the ashes after being outclassed by Isaac "Angel" Hlatswayo on April 7 2007.