unity at last in fight game

SANITY has prevailed in boxing!

SANITY has prevailed in boxing!

For the first time in more than 20 years the WBC, WBA and IBF will unite - thanks to the IBF's initiative.

Boxing Promoters Association (BPA) president Joe DeGuardia announced the good news on Tuesday.

He said on January 11 the BPA met WBC president Jose Sulaiman, WBC executive secretary Mauricio Sulaiman, IBF president Marian Muhammad, IBF chairperson of officials Larry Hazzard and WBA executive vice-president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza in Cancun, Mexico.

"We reached an agreement that for the first time in boxing history we will unite and work together," he said in an e-mail.

Muhammad, the head of the IBF, was quoted as saying: "This is the next great step in the evolution of our sport. The world of boxing is waiting for true leadership, and in our alliance we have the capacity to provide and to reinforce that leadership."

There was unity back in the 1980s when dogs of war such as Marvin Hagler, Michael Spinks, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson held all three belts at once.

They were ordained as undisputed world champions.

Boxing SA's acting chief Loyiso Mtya welcomed the news with glee.

"Wow," he said. "This move will determine the real champions of the world. We are in the mix because of our two IBF champions, Moruti Mthalane and Simphiwe Nongqayi.

"Imagine Nkosinathi Joyi and Ali Funeka winning their IBF title fights. They will be there to unify," he said.

DeGuardia said part of the agreement included an exclusive arrangement for access and collaboration with respect to the Boxing Medical Database, which in turn will ensure the integrity of fighters' medical records and speed up the process for promoters to obtain those records.

"This collaborative effort among promoters, doctors and commissions is the first of its kind and symbolic of the progress spearheaded by the BPA," he said.