Inexperienced officials ‘put boxers at risk’

The lives of South African boxers could be ­endangered by ­unqualified officials employed by Boxing South ­Africa (BSA), according to an impeccable source who opted for anonymity.

According to the informant, these officials, a number of whom have not met the requirements, could jeopardise the professions of local boxers. The officials who are allegedly not equipped include Phillip Durandt, Simon Mokadi and David van Niewenhuizen.

Boxers’ lives, said the source, were at stake if these officials did not become qualified, ­because as referees they may stop a fight a punch too late.

“The rules say officials must have officiating experience in the amateur or in the professional ranks; they must have passed a written or practical examination or both, set by BSA,” said the source.

“The official must also complete BSA’s apprenticeship and ultimately write an examination to make certain that crazy and dangerous decisions are not taken. I shudder to think about the possibility of a boxer’s loss of life after the referee has stopped a fight a few seconds late. Our boxing is in disorder.”

Speaking before his suspension, Loyiso Mtya, BSA’s acting chief executive, said: “Writing exams does not determine who is ready, but (more) extensive training, over years sometimes.

This is conducted by Alf ­Buqwana and Stan Sono.

“Exams are only written after some special courses. Durandt, Mokadi and Van Niewenhuizen – three of the best officials in the country – are victims of professional jealousy.”

Confronted with relevant information, Durandt, who has officiated as a judge and referee in national and provincial title fights, dismissed City Press as an instrument of “a racial witchhunt”.

“I’m qualified in professional kickboxing and have officiated in more than 500 matches,” he said. “Kickboxing rules, word-for-word, are based on a boxing act. I have been doing so well as a judge and referee in boxing that I got citations from ­Dumile (Mateza), Dicksy (Ngqula) and Brian (Mitchell).”

Mateza and Ngqula are former SABC boxing commentators, while Mitchell is a two-times world champion.

Incidentally, Ngqula echoed the sentiments of City Press’s source, that “local boxing is ­indeed in disarray”.

Presented with the allegations, Mokadi, who judged a number of six and four-rounders, claimed that journalists were untrustworthy as their objective was to destroy people.

He said: “I am a former amateur boxer and don’t have anything to say about having not written exams. You can write an exam and know nothing about boxing, unlike (someone like) me who is reading about boxing rules to equip myself.”

Another source, who also complained that there were unqualified officials in Boxing South Africa, said: “Nobody talks ... If you want to be in
boxing, you have to close your mouth and go with the flow.”

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