CAPE TOWN – A professional boxing tournament that was due to be held on Sunday, 28 May, in Cape Town was cancelled 24 hours prior.
By that time, several out-of-town boxers and their entourages had arrived in Cape Town and instead of convening the official weigh-in on Saturday, Boxing South Africa (BSA) announced that the tournament had been cancelled. Two title bouts were on the scheduled bill.
When it comes to regulating tournaments, the mandate of BSA as per the South African Boxing Act (an act of parliament) is to collect the purses payable to the boxers engaged in a tournament from the promoter not later than 30 days prior to the date of the tournament. The Act makes provision for BSA to change the 30-day requirement to "any other date specified by BSA". There have been times when BSA has made it 14 days.
It turns out that BSA decided that the Cape Town promoter would be allowed to lodge the boxers' purses 24 hours before the fight instead. On Saturday morning, BSA was left with egg on their faces when they announced that the purses had not been lodged by the promoter.
BSA is a statutory authority set up by law and is authorised to enforce legislation as per the South African Boxing Act. Their officials would have had a reason to opt for the late lodging of purse monies. BSA have not said why they took that decision. What BSA will not say is that their decision was the cause of immense damage to the country's boxing industry. Their catastrophic decision has left a boxing fraternity enraged, exasperated and feeling deceived.
It has often been said that television is the lifeblood of boxing in the country because of the lucrative fees paid by the broadcaster. Last weekend the television's crew was left high and dry, and there was no broadcast. Fans also arrived at the venue on Sunday afternoon. The punishment that might be handed out to the Cape Town-based promoter is secondary in the bigger picture.
Simply put, BSA has let the country down. Their decision had far-reaching consequences and they must be held accountable. The sordid mess warrants a Parliamentary inquiry since BSA is a statutory authority set up by law. And since they failed to uphold the law, they must suffer the consequences.
In the wake of the cancellation, the storyline of media reports was that the promoter is in hot water. Surely, it is BSA that should be in hot water because they failed so spectacularly, given that they made a call that backfired. One has to doubt if BSA has the intellectual capability to run boxing in South Africa.