Johannesburg – Boxing SA (BSA) has banned contracts in which promoters sign up boxers to fight exclusively under their banners.
BSA acting CEO Loyiso Mtya announced this on Thursday at a briefing to formalise next year's Rumble on the Rock tournament honouring former president Nelson Mandela.
“It is a major step we have taken because too many boxers who are under these exclusive contracts Ä even some of the leading fighters in the country Ä have been starved of action while tied to a single promotional organisation, who are unable to secure suitable fights for them.”
Mtya said all such existing contracts would be honoured because of the legal implications, but would no longer be accepted or recognised by BSA.
“It is a major step forward for all the fighters in the country,” said Mtya.
“In the past, even world champions, in some instances, have spent months and even years out of the ring because their contracted promoters have not been able to come up with suitable fights.
“Boxers, like anyone else, are entitled to use their talent to make a living commensurate with their ability and not be stifled in this respect by unscrupulous promoters who will not let them enter the ring under a rival's banner.”
The decision was a milestone, said Peter Smith, the manager and trainer of Chris “The Heat” van Heerden, who is due to defend his IBO welterweight title against England's Matthew Hatton on Showpony's “Rumble on the Rock” bill in March.
“Chris spent 11 months kicking his heels while listening to unfulfilled promises about prospective fights that were supposed to be organised for him,” said Smith.
“Finally, we managed to secure a release by mutual consent from the promotional contract we had signed and Showpony came up with a very attractive offer for the Hatton fight.”
Promoters contacted for comment said they were severely hampered by the limited finance available in South African boxing.
“This makes it extremely difficult to lure top overseas fighters to South Africa,” said BSP's Branco Milenkovic.
“In the circumstances, we have been forced to look towards overseas exposure for our boxers.
“And talking of monopolies, it is the monopolies involving TV stations and their favoured promoters, allied to the reluctance of the SABC national broadcaster to screen boxing, that have been even bigger problems.” – Sapa