New boxing honcho fights the good fight

BSA head Tsholofelo Lejaka recently introduced new measures aimed at making the sport great again. (Gallo Images)
BSA head Tsholofelo Lejaka recently introduced new measures aimed at making the sport great again. (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Boxing South Africa (BSA) has outlined a comprehensive programme aimed at resuscitating the ailing sport.

The governing body has been bedevilled by a spate of administrative bungles, and the appointment of Tsholofelo Lejaka by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula as BSA’s CEO in June could not have come at a better time.

Lejaka said his stewardship of the national boxing controlling body is beginning to bear fruit, and the running of the sport is on course to be well organised.

He has been in charge for five months, and already the body has outlined the following goals on behalf of licencees:

. Better protection and being served professionally (purse money, licencee benefits, dispute resolution);

. Accurate and punctual information and updating (BSA website, boxing publication);

. Structured, accredited and ongoing training and capacity building;

. Profiling and promoting more aggressively and sustainably; and

. Honouring and rewarding outstanding performance of excellent service (boxing awards and ratings).

“As we are fast approaching the end of 2016, these are top-of-mind issues. Of course, no magic bullet is going to resolve them overnight,” Lejaka said.

As part of the recognition and rewards programme, the national boxing awards were put back on the BSA calendar.

The awards, aimed at recognising the efforts of boxers, trainers and other stakeholders, have not been held for many years.

Lejaka said that, as part of efforts to appease licencees, BSA had started compensating boxers and officials who participated in tournaments in which purse money was not paid.

Xolisani “Nomeva” Ndongeni was not paid his R100 000 by Sijuta Promotions’ Andile Sidinile after the fighter’s lightweight 10-round bout against Tanzanian Emilio Norfat at the Orient Theatre in East London in April.

Another pugilist who featured on that card and was not paid is Simphiwe “16V” Vetyeka, who exchanged blows with Japanese featherweight Tsuyoshi Tameda over 10 rounds.

Vetyeka was owed R300 000.

Lejaka said: “BSA has already started paying Ndongeni, and his last instalment will be before the end of December.

“The same process is already unfolding for other boxers as well.”

Ndongeni said: “BSA has already given me the first payment of R26 000.”

Lejaka said the association had adopted an approach of paying combatants and officials so they did not continue to be inconvenienced and strained while the governing body was “pursuing the respective promoters responsible”.

Lejaka said that, as part of the recognition and reward programme, the BSA boxing awards were back on the boxing calendar.

“The glorious times are here again. The awards will be held in Durban on January 29, in partnership with the [SABC] and the KwaZulu-Natal department of sports and recreation,” he said.

“The initial arrangement was for nominations to close at the beginning of November, but this has now been extended to December 9.”

He said a seminar was held in Elandsfontein, Ekurhuleni, two weeks ago to make the sport more professional through increasing the competence and integrity of ring officials.

“The seminar was attended by all our referees, judges, timekeepers, inspectors and other officials – this was a refresher course. We also elected the interim national leadership,” Lejaka said.

He said BSA would continue to consolidate and build on the accomplishment of this year’s last semester.

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