more fallout from RING RIOT

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Representatives of the World Boxing Foundationand the International Boxing Organisation in Africa came out guns blazing yesterday in response to last Friday's debacle in Eastern Cape.

"Administrators, me included, must stand up and be counted," cautioned Howard Goldberg, a former referee and judge who now represents the WBF in Africa.

Len Hunt, the vice president of the IBO in Africa who was once also a referee and judge, said problems here are due to the fact that those in charge of the sport today "just don't care".

Goldberg has been in boxing for almost 30 years while Hunt said he joined boxing in 1970.

They were reacting to the violent scenes at Mdantsane Indoor Centre.

Fans were angered by the not so well communicated change of plans regarding the three international (two WBF and IBO) fights involving their idols and Mexican opponents.

The Mexicans declared a no contest because they were not paid their purses in advance, as per their agreement with promoter S'Phato Handi.

All hell broke loose after it was explained that the three fights would take place on Saturday.

Boxing SA board members Sakhiwo Sodo and Mxolisi Tsika, and its service provider Phakamile Jacobs, tried their utmost best but were unsuccessful in defusing what had turned into a time bomb.

"People like Loyiso Mtya, Sodo and Mxolisi are visible. Where are the others. Where was CEO Bongani Khumalo who should have been on the phone helping us to help solve the problem?" lamented Goldberg. "He is constantly in meetings.

"What happened last weekend is unacceptable. We must not allow the rest of the world to see us as the unprofessional country," added Goldberg.

But he made it clear that the WBF would not take any action against Handi because he made a commitment that all outstanding monies would be paid before Friday.

Meanwhile Hunt, who was not speaking on behalf of the IBO, said: "How many years have we had world title fights here and we never had problems. These people in charge now don't care, that is why there are problems.

"You phone them, they are in meetings all the time. Sodo is the only man who is a hundred percent supportive to everyone.

"Thank God he was there last Friday."

Hunt said that the weigh-in for Saturday was not done because the scale was locked away. It was the second weigh-in after the first one was done on Thursday.

He said the two trainers and their boxers agreed to fight without checking their weight. Hunt is not aware of any action to be taken by his organisation against Handi.

Attempts to get Handi's comment drew a blank.