Boxing 'needs a saviour'

GREGORY Clark, Natal welterweight and junior middleweight, SA junior middleweight and middleweight champion, says boxing, the sport he served with aplomb for 15 years, is in a cathartic state.

GREGORY Clark, Natal welterweight and junior middleweight, SA junior middleweight and middleweight champion, says boxing, the sport he served with aplomb for 15 years, is in a cathartic state.

"It needs a saviour in the boardroom as well as teachers who will help with the development, I mean honing fighters' skills in order for South Africa to produce quality fighters," Clark said yesterday.

He made his living from boxing from 1979 until he hung up his gloves in 1994.

In fact Clark, who also reigned supreme as the SA junior middleweight champion for many years, chalking up more than 10 defences, said troubles in boxing came from the top down.

He said Boxing SA board members were doing "absolute nothing to improve this sport".

"Their infighting is definitely not good for boxing. Look, we currently have unqualified people at the helm. It seems as if we don't have qualified people to [take] Boxing SA forward.

"I think the solution here would be the intervention of government. It is long overdue. The government must encourage people to submit their CVs for appointment and I hope we will get relevant people running our boxing."

"The situation was also bad in the office in the late 1990s until Steve Tshwete [then Sports Minister] intervened in 1999.

"We also need a commission which will be representative of all the races in South Africa. Right now there are no whites, so-called coloureds and Indians," he said.

Clark, who defeated revered fighters such as Norman Sekgapane, David Khambule, Leo Simelane, Peter Mgojo, Charles Oosthuizen and Kosie van Vuuren in his heyday, said the shortage of genuine boxing mentors was also a major cause for concern.

"Look at the boxers we have today. There is no quality.

"Ex-fighters throughout the country must be involved, and not in one province as it is happening right now with the Eastern Cape."

Clark now hones the skills of amateur fighters in Florida, Johannesburg.

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