Noni Tenge stripped of IBF title

REIGN IS OVER : Former IBF welterweight champ Noni Tenge
REIGN IS OVER : Former IBF welterweight champ Noni Tenge

THE future for women's boxing in South Africa is bleak.

This was confirmed with the news yesterday from Branco Milenkovic that the country's first female world champion, Noni Tenge, has lost her IBF welterweight title without throwing a punch.

Milenkovic had warned last month that the golden girl from East London could be stripped of her title because of a lack of action.

Tenge won the title in June last year and was supposed to have made her mandatory defence on March 11 but that did not happen because her camp could not secure television coverage or a sponsor.

"The IBF extended the period by four months and still nothing happened," added Milenkovic.

"The matter got worse recently just after Boxing SA's decision to forbid promoters from talking directly to television networks."

He said that made it impossible for promoters to perform their duties.

Attempts to get comment from Boxing SA's CEO Moffat Qithi were unsuccessful while director of operations Loyiso Mtya refused to comment.

Promoter S'Phatho Handi, who is part of Tenge's management, said he informed her about the new developments yesterday.

"I made two requests to Branco to try and persuade the IBF to reverse the decision, failing which he should request that they sanction her to contest for the vacant title. We've also appealed to the Eastern Cape government to help us solve this issue," Handi said.