WBF boss calls for Mthethwa to think for boxers

Howard Goldberg
Howard Goldberg

World Boxing Federation (WBF) president Howard Goldberg has expressed his displeasure in the manner in which sports minister Nathi Mthethwa is handling boxing matters in SA since the lockdown was declared in March.

Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa announced recently that sports can resume training but under strict supervision. However, boxing was not part of the list of the codes given the green light.

In a statement to Sowetan, Goldberg, former boxing referee and judge from Cape Town, wrote: "I am well aware of the huge effort put in by Boxing SA in order to get boxing going once again in SA.

"One of the major problems I believe is the lack of knowledge of the minister of sport, and if I am incorrect in my assumption I will apologise unreservedly. Is the minister aware of the fact that boxing is starting to resume worldwide?

"Is the minister aware of the medical protocols that have been put in place in order to ensure safety at boxing events? Is the minister aware of boxing events worldwide now taking place without audiences but covered essentially by sponsorship and/or television?"

Goldberg added: "Again please don't get me wrong. Boxing is one of the major sports in South Africa. We want boxers to derive an income. Of course we don't want to place their lives in jeopardy with reckless behaviour.

"My suggestion would be to allow boxing back under the strictest of rules. To allow boxing to take place, similar to Europe and America, with proper testing. To ensure at this point no audiences permitted.

"To ensure strict testing prior to the weigh in, and also at the weigh in and everyone to wear masks and to socially distance. The boxers themselves would wear masks at the weigh-in and even during their entry to the ring. Only once the fight would start, would the masks be removed.

"If rugby (a contact sport with 30 people engaging with each other) can be allowed to resume, perhaps minister, with some insight, you can facilitate boxing to do likewise."

He agreed that the most important thing during this dreadful virus is to save lives and ensure the safety of the people.

"At the same time the decimated economy that we find ourselves in at present is causing mass destruction on so many levels."

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