×

We've got news for you.

Register on SowetanLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

Weight differences endanger celebrity fighters’ lives

Organisers urged to ask BSA for advice

Cassper Nyovest knocks out Priddy Ugly in the first round during their Celeb Boxing Match at SunBet Arena on October 1, 2022 in Pretoria, It was Nyovest's comeback duel since he was beaten by Anga 'NaakMusiq' Makhubo earlier this year.
Cassper Nyovest knocks out Priddy Ugly in the first round during their Celeb Boxing Match at SunBet Arena on October 1, 2022 in Pretoria, It was Nyovest's comeback duel since he was beaten by Anga 'NaakMusiq' Makhubo earlier this year.
Image: Frennie Shivambu

Organisers of celebrity boxing matches must seek assistance from Boxing SA (BSA) regarding the thorny issue of deciding on the weight such fights can be contested at before something drastic happens, such as death, which will bring this new phenomenon to a screeching end.

Already, there is excitement because of the proposed fight between Cassper Nyovest and “Big Zulu”. But what about the fighters weight?

BSA is not involved because participants in these fights are not licensed as professional fighters – as per Boxing SA Act No 11 of 2001. But the regulator can, if approached, advise on the issue of weight.

Gauteng provincial manager Lehlohonolo Ramagole explained that the permitted maximum weight difference below the welterweight division, which are small weight classes, is 3kg. “Above that weight class the weight allowed is 5kg,” he said.

Such a contest will then be recognised as a catchweight fight, although there is officially no such weight in boxing’s 17 weight divisions. Boxing is one of the most uncompromising sports. A single mistake puts a fighter at risk, not just of losing a match but also of suffering serious bodily harm.

In professional boxing, weight classes are there to eliminate disparity, ensuring that skill remains the most important factor in determining the victor.

Some people, even to this day, still argue that former two-weight champ (junior flyweight and flyweight) Jacob “Baby Jake” Matlala would have beaten Dingaan  “The Rose of Soweto” Thobela in a boxing match.

But that match-up would never have happened – no matter how much money was put on the table – because Thobela fought in much heavier weight divisions. He would have damaged Matlala due to that weight difference.

The last two of the three celebrity fights were accommodated by promoter Joyce Kungwane, whose TLB Promotion has staged professional boxing tournaments.

In the last one on October 31, Nyovest was 20kg heavier than Ricardo “Priddy Ugly” Moloi. Nyovest dropped Moloi pretty ugly in the first round. That was a blessing in disguise because it is unclear how much damage would have been caused by Nyovest’s unfair weight advantage had their fight gone for the full scheduled five rounds.

Nobody cared about weight issues after those first two fights. There was intense excitement. The third fight would not have been allowed to go ahead in the professional ranks due to the risky weight difference.

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

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.