Thobela floors ‘exploiters‘

2011-04-16 19:29

Three-times world champion Dingaan Thobela has unleashed a jaw-dislocating uppercut at South African promoters, accusing them of “exploiting” fighters.

Thobela said the local impresarios were depriving fighters, particularly those heading bills, of training ­expenses.

The man whose best punch was a right uppercut, the nucleus of his arsenal in his heyday, did not pull his punches.

“These promoters are taking advantage of the fighters’ ignorance about the training expenses which are offered internationally,” said Thobela.

“If boxers received training ­expenses the local standard would ­improve by leaps and bounds.”

“South Africa is affiliated to world boxing associations and should meet the standards.”

Internationally acclaimed promoter Branco Milenkovic confirmed that the training expenses issue was practised but was “an agreement between boxer, manager and promoter”.

Milenkovic was contradicted by the acting CEO of Boxing South Africa (BSA), Loyiso Mtya.

“Training expense does take place internationally and our promoters should also practise it, investing in boxers who are contracted to them,” said Mtya.

SA featherweight champion Sabelo Jubata echoed Thobela’s sentiments.

“We boxers need proper diet ­because it is very difficult to prepare for fights without training expenses,” said Jubata.

Former International Boxing Federation welterweight titleholder Isaac Hlatshwayo highlighted that boxing was a job and it was almost impossible to succeed without getting paid for training ­expenses.

Three-times world champion Lehlohonolo Ledwaba also added his voice.

“When a boxer prepares for a fight, he needs a strict diet so that his weight should not exceed the required limit,” said Ledwaba.

“Promoters underpay fighters and this causes difficulties.”

Lightweight contender Mlamli Madikane stressed that boxers struggled before fights as they did not have enough money to buy power boosters.

The country’s biggest promoters – Rodney Berman and Milenkovic – fought back.

“It has never been brought to our attention that boxers need training ­expenses,” said Berman.

“On the other hand, we provide our boxers’ needs, including paying for sparring partners and training ­equipment.”

Berman also said he was not a trainer, therefore he was unaware of the ­boxers’ plight.

Milenkovic said it was unfair to put everything on the shoulders of the promoters and disregard the managers who “receive 25% of the boxers’ purses”.

“Some of our fighters are unreasonable, like one who once told me that he was in the league of Manny ­Pacquiao,” said Milenkovic.

“He demanded a fortune when he was fighting, forcing me to pay him R600 000, but could hardly attract a decent crowd at his fight.”

Thobela also emphasised the significance of the promoter providing a camp before the fight.

The man who popularised going to camp was former undisputed middleweight champion Marvin Hagler.


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