Boxing partnership works

THE Eastern Cape government has pledged its support for boxing in the province.

Balindi Makhubalo, senior manager in the provincial department of sports, said the decision taken by both the department and local boxing authorities to partner in the development of the sport in the province was already yielding results.

"Since then about 90% of boxing tournaments in the province have been funded by the government," said Makhubalo.

"We cannot allow a situation where our sons and daughters go out of the province in order to make a living out of boxing. Today there is action almost every weekend.

"We have built a solid family of boxers, trainers, managers and promoters as well as fans who have constantly shown their undying love for the sport."

Makhubalo's government made it possible for Luvuyo Mngxaso, a greenhorn promoter from Mount Coke, to stage his maiden tournament in the area, which was graced by the presence of top hip-hop artists AKA and K.O., who do not come cheap.

They paved the way for the pugilism with their musical showdown in front of a big and adoring crowd that ignored the chilly and windy conditions. But Mngxaso had to go the legal route to get the permission to go ahead with his tournament. That was after Boxing South Africa had tried to cancel it due to Mngxaso's failure to meet "compliance issues".

Speaking on behalf of the Eastern Cape Promoters Association (ECPA), secretary Andile Sdinile warned that they will win every legal battle against boxing's governing body.

His organisation supported Mngxaso as they did with Dicksy Ngqula, whose Premier Boxing League had also been cancelled because Ngqula had failed to comply with BSA rules by depositing purse money within the specified period before the tournament.

"But credit must go to our government for being behind us," said Sdinile.

"We do not even feel the blackout of boxing [on TV] by SABC."