The Boxing South Africa (BSA) awards are the subject of a mudslinging match involving three top, respected fight personalities.
The annual occasion took place in Durban eight days ago, but the unpleasant memories of the event linger on in the minds of the combatants.
In the red corner with multi-coloured trunks stands well-respected trainer/promoter Mzimasi Mnguni and boxing gym boss Nick Durandt, and in the blue corner, in black trunks, stands Loyiso Mtya.
At stake is the credibility of the Lifetime Achievement award, the standard of the awards function and the characters of the verbal combatants.
Mnguni, a man whose name has become synonymous with world champions, has contemptuously rejected the Lifetime Achievement award bestowed upon him by BSA.
An outraged Mnguni unleashed a coup de grace dismissing the organisation’s gesture of appreciation as ‘mshoshaphansi’, which loosely translates to mean ‘underhand’.
Mtya, a former top light heavyweight contender in the country and BSA’s acting CEO, who does not run out of ammunition easily, devastatingly counter-punched Mnguni.
“Mnguni has been familiar with ‘mshoshaphansi’ for years, so much so that he cannot even tell when something is genuine, not even the ultimate award bestowed on him,” rebutted Mtya.
Then there was manager-trainer Durandt, always difficult to silence, who charged that “you can unashamedly quote me on this, the annual awards function was a f... up.”
Mtya retaliated: “Durandt believes the awards were designed for him as an individual and suffers from sour grapes because he never received any.”
The seemingly unabated spat was much more fierce than the physical encounters these three men normally mastermind in the ring.
Mnguni would have shared the award with Golden Gloves Promotions’ co-ordinator Shona MacTaggart, one of the country’s most outstanding women in the cutthroat game.
Mnguni has never been recognised before, regardless of producing more world champions than any other compatriot and staging exciting shows as a promoter.
He argued vehemently that he has never been acknowledged by BSA regardless of his legendary achievements.
“This award, which I don’t deserve, is just a camouflage and a ploy to keep me quiet for a while, which I am not falling for,” fumed Mnguni.
“I am disappointed with Phakamile Jacobs (boxing administrator) for accepting the award on my behalf because I initially told him that I do not want it,” raged Mnguni.
Durandt complained bitterly that the function was badly organised, “attracting less than 200 people in a hall meant for a multitude”.
Mtya pointed out that there were logistical problems beyond their control, resulting in the auditorium not being packed.
“At previous awards, we combined the occasion with the convention and planned ahead, and this assured a big attendance,” said Mtya.
“This time we were not even certain that the awards would take place due to financial problems and we were rescued by the KwaZulu-Natal department of sport. We are eternally grateful to them.”
BSA chairperson Dr Peter Ngatane, who did not attend due to a previous commitment, was non-committal.
“I cannot comment about the controversy until I receive a full report from the licensees,” said Ngatane.
The winners were: (bold)
Boxer of the Year - Nkosinathi Joyi
Prospect of the year - Gabisile Tshabalala
Promoter of the year - Thulani Magudulela of Ludonga Promotions
Manager of the year - Jodie Solomons
Trainer of the year - Lennox Mpulampula
Ring official of the year - Thabo Spampool
Life achievement award - Shona MacTaggart and Mnguni
Knockout of the Year - Flo Simba
Special Achievement - Gideon Buthelezi
Special awards for women - Mbali Zantsi, Getty Magwaza, Violet Magwaca and Nangamso Siqaza