Boxing: Babyface's title and money blues continue

2013-07-21 14:00

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The lack of a credible promoter has nearly cost International Boxing Federation (IBF) world champion Moruti “Babyface” Mthalane his title.

Now the IBF flyweight champ has to fight for peanuts to defend his world crown against Silvio Olteanu.

Mthalane will make his mandatory defence for a paltry $10 600 (R104 700), all thanks to the finger-pointing politics of the sport.

Mthalane earned R650 000 in his last fight in September.

But in a purse bid held in New Jersey on Thursday night, only one promoter – German-based SES Boxing – showed up and automatically won the bid for $ 12 500.

This was effectively the lowest bid allowed for a world title according to IBF rules.

The purse will be split 85% to Mthalane and 15% to Olteanu, leaving the 30-year-old South African with R104 700.

Of this, Mthalane will have to share with his manager Nick Durandt, pay taxes in Europe (where it is believed the fight will be staged within 90 days), as well as cough up for other deductions.

Promoted under the Branco Sports Production (BSP) banner, the KwaZulu-Natal boxer earned R650 000 from his previous fight but the two parties broke ties in February this year.

Babyface’s fate has since been hanging in the balance. With no promoter showing interest in promoting his mandatory defence and with time running out, Thursday’s offer declared a “take it or lose your title” scenario.

Boxing SA director of operations Loyiso Mtya blamed the KwaZulu-Natal government for letting Mthalane down.

“Mthalane was let down by the KZN government, which was initially willing to cough out funds for him to fight in the country but a certain HOD (head of department) halted the process in its final stage and we ran out of time,” said Mtya.

But KZN sports department HOD Royini Naidoo said it was “unfair to blame us because we never promised anything”.

She further said: “We received a request for R1.5 million but people must understand there are due processes that have to be followed, especially when money is involved.”

Milenkovic said he was not to blame for Mthalane’s plight.

“The fact of the matter is I offered Moruti a two-fight deal in February worth R1 million and he rejected it outright,” said the Serbian-born promoter.

Mthalane, speaking through Durandt, said they turned down the offer as it was short notice and had they accepted, they would have fought in the show staged by BSP on March 23 at Carnival City.

“We rejected it because we could not afford to risk losing the title by defending while half-prepared,” said Durandt.

Mthalane also turned down another fight offer from Milenkovic in November last year.

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