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Levine counters against IBO's critics

Gideon Buthelezi with the IBO junior- bantamweight belt.
Gideon Buthelezi with the IBO junior- bantamweight belt.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Edward Levine has not taken kindly to claims that his IBO sanctioning body is not legitimate and that the IBO belt is not a real world title, which means IBO champions must not be referred to as world champs.

Some promoters, managers, trainers and media say the WBA, WBC, IBF and the WBO are the only real world bodies.

Many people question the criteria the IBO uses to rank and nominate boxers for its titles. They say Levine's company is only interested in its sanctioning fees.

Levine, a native New Yorker, is president of this Florida, US-based organisation that was founded in 1988. Some of its notable former champions include Floyd Mayweather jnr, Lennox Lewis, Manny Paquiao, Simon Ramoni, Cassius Baloyi, Silence Mabuza, Thomas Mashaba, Nkosinathi Joyi and Hekkie Budler.

Speaking heartily to Sunday World this week, the 75-year-old former ring official said: "My goal from the beginning as president of the IBO was to bring something different to the table (objective ratings, transparency, integrity) and to give opportunities to fighters and promoters not necessarily in the mainstream.

"... But there was just no more room at the inn, too many sanctioning bodies already there and too many titles. Now, years later, we get to today's mess.... Interim titles were meant as temporary titles for a long-term injury to a champion, now it's just used as an additional world title along with regular, super, diamond, silver, in recess, etcetera. What's next?"

Levine - whose organisation's first champion in SA was Ramoni, who won the junior-featherweight title in 1998 - added: " It's been a difficult road for the IBO but there have been enough great fighters and their managers over the years and today who appreciate what we do and who we are, that keep us very relevant in the sport."

Levine said his organisation will continue helping South African fighters.

Currently, only Gideon "Hardcore" Buthelezi (junior-bantamweight), Kevin Lerena (cruiserweight), Thulani Mbenge (welterweight) and Simphiwe Konkco (straw weight) are IBO champions.

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