title fight in a gym

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Boxing history will be made for the wrong reasons when a national title fight takes place in a gym with neither fighter making a cent.

Manelisi Mbilase has been ordered by Boxing SA to defend the South African featherweight belt in a gym against Thando Vukuza. Boxing SA will choose the gym.

Peter Ngatane, chairperson of Boxing SA, made it clear yesterday that this is permitted in the Boxing Act of 2000.

This decision - proudly taken by the board of Boxing SA last Saturday - is an idiotic one. It devaluates the national belt.

Ngatane unashamedly said they arrived at this implausible decision after realising that no promoter had shown interest of staging the fight.

Boxing SA had called a purse bid two months ago.

That was after promoter Mzimase Mnguni had failed to reach an agreement with the two fighters, especially Mbilase who is said to have demanded R70000.

Mbilase defeated Vukuza on points in their first clash in Carletonville last October. That was a controversial decision which sparked protests.

Boxing SA then appointed five neutral judges to review the fight on tape and score it. They all scored it in favour of Vukuza.

Boxing SA then ordered Mbilase to defend against Vukuza.

Mnguni pleaded with Boxing SA for first preference because he had contractual rights over Mbilase. But he failed to convince the champion, and a second purse bid was called, with no interest from promoters. Hence the decision to take the fight to a gym.

"This fight cannot be open to the public because once you do that, the impression is that it is a promoted fight. Boxing SA is not a promoter," said Ngatane in his parting shot.