marali fight is off
The fight for the IBO junior lightweight belt between Zolani Marali and Fahsai Sakkreerin is off.
It was scheduled for Saturday night at Emperors Palace, Kempton Park. The tournament, with a new opponent for Marali, will now take place on April 2.
Sakkreerin, 27, from Thailand, has hepatitis B, and is therefore unfit to fight.
This liver disease is said to be deadly and 100 times more contagious than HIV-Aids, worrying for a close-contact sport like boxing. It can be spread through direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person.
Promoter Rodney Berman's Golden Gloves company was set to present the bout. He said Marali's new opponent will be made known before Friday.
Berman was close to tears, having spent hundreds of thousands of rands on flights and accommodation for the Thai entourage of four - Sakkreerin and his trainer as well as Anon Donpradit and his mentor.
Donpradit was to fight Jared Lovett in a non title eight rounder.
The confusing thing is that Sakkreerin was cleared by the Thailand Boxing Commission to fight.
He even arrived here with a medical certificate.
But he steadfastly refused to have blood tests during the pre-fight medical yesterday, a standard practice in boxing worldwide.
Dr Peter Chadderton just could not believe his ears when Sakkreerin refused to do the medical tests.
Berman was notified about it. He tried to sway the Thai fighter but he would not budge. Berman then lost it and instructed him to pack his bags and leave.
Seeing red, Sakkreerin agreed to do it but subsequently admitted that the reason for his refusal is that has hepatitis B.
Berman has written a strongly worded letter to the Thailand Boxing Commission, which sanctioned him.
"I find it disgusting that first of all that a laboratory report was issued, which is obviously false, as the hepatitis B virus would have been readily picked up, and secondly that the boxer was cleared to fight here.
"We require the address of the Thailand medical and dental council, as we intend demanding an investigation into the practitioner who issued these reports," said Berman, who is a lawyer by profession.