Why funeka fought nate

Bongani Magasela

Ignorance is the mother of exploitation, just ask boxer Ali "Rush Hour" Funeka.

This Mdantsane fighter was dragged to face an overweight Nate Campbell for the IBF and WBO lightweight belts last weekend.

Campbell forfeited 25 percent of his undisclosed purse in order for the fight to go ahead, and Funeka deserved that money.

It would have made a difference to Funeka's alleged purse money of between R1,25 million and R1,7 million.

Funeka's management said nothing about it, the boxer said. Funeka met all the contractual requirements so he had the right to refuse to fight a man who was almost 3kg over the limit.

Funeka said he was not part of the team that took the decision to fight because he went straight to his room after making his weight.

"I was informed that Campbell failed to make the weight in his second attempt but the fight was going ahead as planned," said Funeka.

His promoter, Mzimase Mnguni, who was the head of the delegation to Florida, said the penalty applies only here with Boxing SA.

"Internationally you are told to fight and get paid or not fight and don't get paid," he said. "You are also not guaranteed that vacant titles will wait for you."

But sources in boxing say the penalty applies in every corner of the planet otherwise no boxer will worry about making the weight.

"It is compensation to the boxer that made the weight because he may suffer severe damages due to weight difference," a source said. "It also has to do with professionalism and dedication."

Reacting to the team's failure to provide Boxing SA with the fight contract from Don King, Mnguni said his younger brother, Sihle Mnguni, who on paper manages Funeka, was available for Boxing SA "if they wanted him".

Funeka knew nothing about it.

"I got to know about it through the newspapers," he said. "I will sort it out myself. I have the copy of the contract. I am coming down to Johannesburg for the annual awards on Friday and I will have talks with BSA.

"I have no idea how these things work. All I do is sign the contract and Mzimase Mnguni deals with Boxing SA," he said.

Funeka's fight abroad was illegal. Sowetan believes that a positive result would not have been recognised by the national governing body because it did not clear him to fight.

Boxing SA's demand for contracts from boxers who fight abroad is in the Boxing Act, said Boxing SA's Loyiso Mtya.

For the record the IBF and WBO belts became vacant because Campbell, the winner, failed to make the weight.