Cash crisis hits Baby Champs

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

The future of the Baby Champs, a mass boxing development programme, is hanging by a thread due to a lack of funding.

The project used to rely on the support of the SABC, provincial governments and other donors, but those funds are dwindling.

Boxing SA, the country's boxing governing body, is clueless about where the money will come from to rescue this popular and envied project that has helped to expose boxing talent at grassroots level, promoters and officials in the country.

Boxing South Africa interim chief executive Loyiso Mtya has been driving the project since its inception in 2005.

"The Baby Champs could be history unless we secure a sponsor," he told Sowetan in an exclusive interview yesterday.

"But I will be looking for a sponsor so that we don't depend on donors to keep the project running.

"We've been relying on donors like Gibson Thula, Branco Milenkovic, Mbali Zantsi and Imran Khan in the past and we are always grateful for their assistance.

"Provincial governments have been equally supportive, so was the SABC who are also co-owners of the project."

The public broadcaster has been giving BSA R720000 a year for the project, which has been conducted in the last six months of the year, spilling over to the following year for the finals.

The Baby Champs has created some controversies with some promoters accusing Boxing South Africa of taking the project from them.

The disenchanted promoters accused the national body of promoting the tournaments that the programme is made up of, instead of administering the project.

"We have not been promoting this project but we have been managing it and nothing else," Mtya responded.