Gauteng threatens to bar East London boxers

Kometsi upset over 'insults' from fans

Boxing promoter Tshele Kometsi.
Boxing promoter Tshele Kometsi.
Image: Supplied

Innocent fighters from the Eastern Cape have unfortunately become collateral damage in a row where “unsavoury” verbal abuse was directed at the Gauteng Boxing Promoters Association (GBPA) on social media, said GBPA chair Tshele Kometsi yesterday.

“We, as the association, took a resolution on Sunday after a special meeting that we will no longer feature boxers from the Eastern Cape, East London in particular, in our tournaments in future,” he said.

“We were insulted badly by many people [boxing fans], but we took particular exception to Terror Thethwa [an East London-based fan] who called us the Gauteng Taxi Association on social media. It is disgusting that no-one from boxers, trainers and managers deemed it fit to defend us against such a nasty abuse. Yet we have given many of them opportunities.”

It is thought the outrage of some Eastern Cape-based fans stems from the non-inclusion of boxer Phila Mpontshana in a recent tournament staged by the GBPA where he was to defend the SA junior-lightweight title, but couldn't after returning a positive Covid-19 test.

“We've always striven to give chances to boxers from all provinces to earn some money during these difficult times since the hard lockdown in March 2020, but we now have to review our position,” Kometsi stated.

In the last tournament of last year in Gauteng, which was organised by the GBPA in December, Zolani “Last Born” Tete from Mdantsane, near East London, headlined the bill.

The former two-weight world champion returned to competitive action since he had last fought in 2019 when he lost the WBO bantamweight belt. It was announced after Tete’s first-round knockout of Tanzanian Iddy Kayumba that the former IBF junior-bantamweight holder, and some other boxers from that province, would be returning to Johannesburg this year.

Asked to clarify if that arrangement still stood, Kometsi said: “Unfortunately, we have reversed it because of the insults.”

Other boxers from the Eastern Cape who have featured in recent tournaments organised by the GBPA include Asanda Gingqi, Siseko Makeleni, Xolani Mcotheli, Tete’s stablemate Sinethemba Kotana and Siphiwe Lusizi.

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