Mankwankwa steps in to face Moloisane for vacant title

Positive test forces Sibiya out of ABU title fight

Koos Sibiya, left, lost this bout controversially against Phila Mpontshana in East London two weeks ago.
Koos Sibiya, left, lost this bout controversially against Phila Mpontshana in East London two weeks ago.
Image: MARK ANDREWS

Successful boxing trainer Bernie Pailman says he is devastated by the news that his boxer Koos Sibiya tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday, which has forced him out of the ABU SADC junior-lightweight title fight.

Sibiya was set to oppose Anthony Moloisane for the vacant title in the headline bout of Dream Team’s tournament at Mookeng Hall in Kroonstad in the Free State tomorrow night. Promoter Lebo Mahoko said his tournament is going ahead as planned.

Sibiya has been replaced by Romeo Mankwankwa from Malawi, who will face Moloisane for the same title.

“I said when the country went on hard lockdown in March that the government must suspend boxing until there is a vaccine to deal with this disease. We don’t know who we are fighting yet lives are lost every day,” said Pailman yesterday. “Koos was hitting pads with me preparing for this fight so I had to do my Covid-19 test as well and I will get my results tomorrow.

“Luckily, my other boxers Sabelo Nkosi and Lopez Maluleke, who will be fighting at Randfontein on Sunday, tested negative. They helped Koos with sparring. You know we are reading about this thing in newspapers and [seeing it on] television, but here it is right at my doorstep.”

Boxing SA’s acting CEO Cindy Nkomo said: “We’ve done the best to mitigate cases within boxing but the reality is that we can’t be 100% safe. We really need to applaud the medical committee for all the measures and advice they have constantly been giving us.

"Our best approach will be to tighten current measures and encourage our licensees to take extra care over and above what they have been doing. We wish a speedy recovery to all our licensees infected.”

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.