'FUNEKA should be at us fight'

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Boxing promoter Branco Milenkovic is shocked that Ali Funeka will not attend the IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight unification fight between Nate Campbell and John Guzman in the US on Sunday morning.

According to recent reports, Funeka's management cancelled the trip due to lack of funds. Funeka earned R500 000 for the IBF elimination fight with American Zahir Raheem in July. That victory put him in the IBF's number one spot.

Campbell holds both the IBF and WBA belts while Guzman is the WBO champion. Funeka's presence at their super-fight would have given him a perfect opportunity to study the winner who will be his next opponent.

"I can't understand how can lack of funds be the issue when they received R140000 from Funeka's fight," asked Serbian- born Milenkovic. "They can easily buy 10 tickets."

Funeka's fight with Raheem at East London's Jan Smuts Stadium was co-presented by Branco Sports Productions and the Eastern Cape sports department. Milenkovic had won the purse bid to stage it with a R1,4 million bid.

The relationship between Milenkovic and Funeka's manager, Mzimase Mnguni ended after that impressive victory.

Mnguni is a boxing promoter, and believes he has the capacity to stage the IBF fight himself, but Funeka still regards Milenkovic as his international promoter.

Mnguni vehemently denied having said they would go to the US: "I said it will be nice to be there. Anyway, where does Branco feature here? This man came here with nothing, we gave him money and now he is undermining me in my own country. I have more serious things in life to worry about than Branco."