Durandt lashes out at SABC

2012-09-29 17:19

Well-decorated boxing trainer Nick “Mthakathi” Durandt has lashed out at the SABC, accusing the public broadcaster of killing the sport.

The outspoken trainer/manager, who has produced 30 world champions, this week said the constant television blackout of live matches was to the detriment of boxing.

“Boxing in this country is ignored and undervalued, and there is no one to blame but the national broadcaster,” said Durandt.

The broadcaster discontinued popular boxing show Blow by Blow on SABC 2 about two years ago and since then boxing fans have had to rely on pay TV channel SuperSport to watch matches.

Opined Durandt: “Boxing has suffered in this country while football, which has always flopped, continues to enjoy massive television coverage, such as the upcoming Afcon 2013 tournament.”

Durandt charged: “They have made us the black sheep of the sporting fraternity.”

He said the SABC was making empty promises and he challenged them to be straightforward with boxing licensees so they could look out for alternatives if the SABC were not interested in televising boxing.

In a joint statement, the SABC and Boxing SA announced in June that they had “reached an agreement that will enable boxing fans the opportunity to frequently see their athletes in action”.

The report further said: “It will take the SABC about two weeks to finalise which channel will carry the matches, as well as scheduling.”

It is now three months since that undertaking was made and little seems to have happened.

Last week’s thrilling Super 8 boxing tournament that took place at Emperors Palace was not broadcast on SABC.

Durandt said it had become impossible for South African boxing promoters to stage tournaments because “there is no money when there is no broadcasting”.

“Luckily, Rodney Berman (Golden Gloves boss) has a partnership with SuperSport, but the entire boxing fraternity continues to suffer.”

He said Converse ended its sponsorship of 10 years with Durandt’s Boxing World because “sponsors want exposure which, if they don’t get, they pull out”.

He added that a number of boxers in his stable had been out of action for two years and struggled every day to make ends meet.

Boxing SA chairperson Ngconde Balfour referred City Press to Boxing SA CEO Moffat Qithi for comments.

Durandt’s sentiments were then extensively echoed by Qithi.

“The absence of television has had devastating effects on boxing. Fans have been in the dark about boxing affairs,” he said.

“I do not understand the criteria the SABC uses to air other sporting codes while sidelining boxing. We have tried our best, but the SABC says they don’t have enough money to cover all sporting codes.”

SABC acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng told City Press the public broadcaster had done its part and the ball was now in Boxing SA’s court.

“I have been dealing with Ngconde Balfour on this matter. They were to get their board to sign the agreement so I can table it in front of the SABC board for them to sign. We are still waiting for them.”

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