Rass dares fire-spitting Solly Selebi

2011-06-11 15:00

Boxing South ­Africa (BSA) board member Solly Selebi has been asked to ­resign as he is accused of ­elevating himself above ­licensees and believing that “he is immortal”.

These allegations were made by former featherweight prizefighter and current matchmaker Keith Rass in an interview with City Press this week.

“Selebi must call it a day,” fumed Rass.

“The man is ­under the illusion that he is accountable to no one, ­creating an impression that he holds the existence of all ­licensees in the palm of his hand.”

Surprisingly, Selebi, who is never at a loss for words and is acclaimed for his fire-eating utterances, did not ­respond despite being ­given a chance to do so.

Selebi captured the attention of the South African boxing fraternity for the first time when he ­attacked ­boxing’s national ­authorities at Arthur “Fighting Prince” Mayisela’s funeral in 1986.

All that the man who was once seen as the only licensee who did not fear the then iron-fisted national executive director, Stan Christodoulou, would say was: “I don’t comment on the likes of Keith Rass.”

The subject of their dispute is Selebi’s “continuous habit of refusing to clear boxers with a bad record”, says Rass.
“Ever since Selebi joined BSA last year the game has been going to the dogs,” said Rass, a matchmaker for ­Namibia Boxing Promotions.

“I have no confidence in Selebi. Have a look at the disparaging SMSs he texts to me.”

One of the SMSs, which City Press drew Selebi’s ­attention to, reads: “Tell your boxers to go and sell fatcakes.”

The other says: “This board’s vision is to clean up rubble lingering about the ­noble sport.”

Rass said he could not understand how “a person who is so vindictive could be appointed to such a ­responsible position”.

“We need a humble administrator who has the welfare of fighters at heart, not an arrogant person like Selebi,” said Rass.

Selebi had a nasty verbal confrontation with top promoter Rodney Berman over his scheduling of a top show on the same night with Branco Milenkovic two months ago.

Berman’s show took place at Emperors Palace while Milenkovic’s was at Nasrec.

At the time Selebi said: “Berman is a spoilt brat who thinks every member of the board is his garden boy.”

Berman replied: “I am ­surprised that a man who is responsible for protecting me is attacking me and I wonder how he was appointed to such a position.”

Another unfortunate ­altercation that further pressed local boxing against the ropes previously ­transpired between Selebi, the sanctioning committee’s chairperson, and promoter Siphatho Handi, last month.

The bone of contention had to do with the non-approval of the national featherweight title fight between the then champion, Sabelo Jubatha, and Simphiwe Tom.

Handi, who handled ­Jubatha, said Selebi was a “proxy and was not in the game to serve the interests of licensees but to advance the comfort of certain individuals”.

Selebi countered that Handi was “sticking his long nose into business that did not concern him.”

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