Former American boxer's Covid-19 fight a warning for local boxing fraternity - BSA boss says

BSA CEO Tsholofelo Lejaka is running the show solo. /Nick Lourens
BSA CEO Tsholofelo Lejaka is running the show solo. /Nick Lourens
Image: Nick Lourens

Boxing SA chief executive Tsholofelo Lejaka has warned licensees, boxers and fans to play their role in reducing the impact of the Covid-19.

"The ball is now in our court to take over the baton and play our role to ensure that no lives are lost.

"As BSA we plead with our licensees, boxers, supporters, stakeholders to make sure they heed the call of government, maintain social distance, observe the lockdown, practise healthy matters and make sure we protect ourselves as prescribed in all communication circulated by our authorities."

Lejaka was reacting to the breaking news that American former world-ranked heavyweight contender Derrick "D-Train" Jefferson is fighting for his life in Michigan after testing positive for Covid-19.

It has been reported that 52-year-old Jefferson is in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator after being admitted to hospital.

"We've already learned that some among us have been affected, so boxing sector we beg of you. We are being called upon to demonstrate our patriotism, to lead from the front and lead through our actions.

"Let us only go out when it is absolutely necessary to do so and keep with prescribed exceptions."

After winning the North American Boxing Association belt on May 20 1999 by defeating highly ranked Bert Cooper, Jefferson exploded onto the scene when he scored a KO win over Maurice Harris in November 1999.

The HBO-televised fight is widely regarded as one of the most exciting heavyweight fights of the decade. In 2001 D-Train was stopped by Wladimir "Dr Steelhammer" Klitschko for the WBO world heavyweight title. He also lost his last bout, in 2005 against DaVarryl Williamson, via stoppage.

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