Veteran boxing reunion gets below-the-belt blow from ex-fighters

2011-07-09 18:45

The reunion of veteran boxers was allegedly intended to suppress the history of black fighters and create exaggerated admiration for their white counterparts.

This was the view of three guests and veterans who were reacting to Jeff Ellis’ innovative get-together that took place at Emperors Palace last Saturday.

In probably a first of its kind, adventurous boxing-all-rounder Ellis, of African Ring, masterminded the coalition during a seven-bout novice bill.

The bond of the greats was contemptuously dismissed as sham.

Former prizefighters, junior lightweight Ben “TNT” Lekalake, lightweight Jabu Malinga and featherweight Thomas Mathibela angrily tore into the occasion.

“There were a number of great white fighters in the past, but they should be cherished for what they ­truly were, not honoured for what they were not,” fumed Lekalake.

“An impression was created that veteran whites were head and ­shoulders above blacks by the manner in which they were glorified, and blacks were treated as if they were virtually non-existent.”

Mathibela echoed Lekalake’s ­sentiments, saying almost all the pictures of veteran boxers on display were of whites.
“Vuyani Bungu is the only South ­African to successfully defend his world crown 13 times but far fewer photos of his were on display,” said Mathibela.

Malinga complained that blacks were merely invited to support an ­occasion meant to glorify whites.

“I am in sorrow when I think about this so-called veteran reunion,” moaned Lekalake.

“Where were pictures of the great Terror Mathebula, Elijah Mokone, Joe Gumede and Levi Madi?”

When told the impression of some veterans, Ellis explosively roasted City Press, without giving it a hearing.

“What you are saying is a load of rubbish and you are trying to make a political thing out of this wonderful event,” charged Ellis.

“I was enjoying my lunch when you called, but am now so disgusted that I have lost my appetite. Sickening!”

Ellis bitterly pointed out that it was time the fight fraternity acknowledged what he had done for black boxers as a fighter, matchmaker, promoter and boxing magazine ­publisher for 50 years.

Veteran boxers who attended the ­reunion included junior lightweight ­Brian Mitchell; welterweight Jan ­Bergman; junior heavyweight Piet Crous; flyweights Johannes Miya and Johannes Sithebe; featherweight Alfred Buqwana; junior middleweight ­Gregory Clark; welterweight Harold Volbrecht and heavyweight Siza ­Makhathini.


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