Hunger amid Covid-19 lockdown stalks professional boxers

With the lockdown having completely decimated their income streams, SA boxers are battling to keep the wolf from the door, the writer says.
With the lockdown having completely decimated their income streams, SA boxers are battling to keep the wolf from the door, the writer says.
Image: STOCK IMAGE

There is grave concern from a large number of professional boxers who say that by the time President Cyril Ramaphosa announces the end of lockdown, there will literally be no boxers.

They say there is a new enemy they are facing now - and that is hunger. Their fear is that hunger will put an end to their lives or they must make the means to defeat it.

Something is needed to help them keep the wolf from the door since their only source of income was disabled by the national lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19.

They made it clear, though, that they highly appreciate the swift reaction taken by Ramaphosa to stop the spread of the Covid-19 which has decimated lives around the globe.

South Africa has about 700 registered boxers and about 50 of them are women boxers.

About 30 of them and a handful of trainers and officials were very fortunate that they received some money from the government through the Covid-19 Relief Fund and they give credit to Nathi Mthethwa's sports ministry.

But the majority of boxers did not benefit. It was not a free for all but rather for those boxers whose already sanctioned fights were affected when the government announced the national lockdown.

Many who did not get anything say it is becoming very difficult to live because the lockdown came early in the year just when they had used their last pennies to renew their licences with Boxing SA.

They suggested that the government should assist promoters to put up fights behind closed doors with no fans but under a strictly controlled environment.

"If fighting without fans is what it takes, then so be it," they propose. "The bottom line is, we will earn some money that will help us live."

That scenario would mean that tournaments will generate less revenue due to not having any ticket-buying fans.

But it will at least mean that everyone involved in the sport can get back to work, even if not under ideal circumstances, and that fans at home will be able to watch on television or on their streaming devices.

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