Thobela to up the ante in battle with Boxing SA over licensing

TROUBLED soul Dingaan "The Rose of Soweto" Thobela is seeking professional advice to guide him through the standoff with Boxing South Africa.

"I have no choice but to take that direction to clear my name because these people are hellbent on tarnishing my image by creating the impression that I forged a boxing licence," Thobela said yesterday.

"I am deeply hurt. I've been humiliated for no apparent reason. (BSA chairperson) Peter Ngatane called me last week and, as always, I humbled myself by driving to his practice at Lesedi Clinic.

"He suggested many things to me and even talked about calling a joint press conference at which they would apologise publicly for announcing on television without informing me first that they had revoked my licence. He said the CEO, Moffat Qithi, would write a letter of apology and invite me to that conference. I waited for the letter and the invite but to no avail.

"Shockingly, Peter called me five minutes before 2pm on Tuesday to find out why I was not at the briefing, which he said would start at 2pm."

Thobela said Ngatane's question left him dumbfounded.

"Clearly they did not want me there. They knew I was going to blast them publicly for their incompetence," said Thobela, who lost his usual composure.

Ngatane and Qithi went ahead with the briefing. Ngatane apolo- gised to Thobela on behalf of BSA but Qithi is still trying to find out who relicensed the boxer without BSA's consent. That means the case if far from over.

Executive board member Solly Selebi made the startling revelation two weeks ago that Thobela's application did not reach the relevant committee. Selebi said an official erred by relicensing Thobela, and that Qithi would report back to the board after his probe.

The truth is that BSA sent Thobela to their doctors for a medical check-up before they relicensed him. BSA did not check the rule book, which would have shown that the 45-year-old Thobela did not qualify to be relicensed because he had spent more than a year without a fight. Thobela signed an agreement for a 10-round fight with Basil Ray at Emperors Palace on August 29. That bout has been cancelled.

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