risking it all for pittance

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

The government must take stringent measures against some boxing promoters who continue to exploit boxers by paying them peanuts.

Some provincial sports departments allegedly assist promoters with millions of rands but boxers don't smell that money.

Any form of financial injection from the government into boxing must benefit fighters. Some of these promoters get site fees (staging tournaments at casinos, malls etc) and money from television houses for broadcast rights.

Some tragedies have occurred in the ring ending careers, and a larger number of boxers' families are at the receiving end. Some boxers' children had to give up school because their fathers have no money. Poverty becomes the ultimate winner in this sport.

Provincial governments must help develop boxers, not promoters, if they want to be seen promoting development in this dog-eat-dog arena.

A case in point was last Friday night, when Sphiwe Nongqayi fought the fight of his life to defend the WBF super flyweight title against Julio Ler at Nasrec Arena.

Ler, a short and bulky Argentinian, who took Tshifhiwa Munyai through 12 tough rounds a few months ago, was expected to test Nongqayi's durability.

But Ler inflicted serious bodily harm on the 36-year-old East Londoner.

Nobody wants to divulge Nongqayi's purse money. Promoter Thinus Strydom was mum on this one while Nongqayi's mentor, Nick Durandt would only say that his charge's pay was reduced. Durandt announced that they had cut ties with Strydom.

Strydom did not get any financial assistance from any government, but he did sell broadcast rights to the SABC.

Nongqayi went down from an overarm right in two. Getting up was not a problem - credit to Durandt for his superb conditioning of his fighters - but Nongqayi's legs were like those of a newborn calf. He got up and held on until saved by the bell.

His bravery in getting up and fighting back hard was his biggest mistake. Ler punished him with damaging blows to the head, liver and ribs. Nongqayi took those punches well but the question remains: "was it worth it?"