A New trend of hosting and promoting “for fun” Tik Tok star fights – known as Tikbox – where people with disputes take each other on in the boxing ring, while the paying public watches, caused the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, to express its concern over this practice.
The court commented that at first glance this matter seemed to be the typical quarrel, between business partners, bound by company laws, “ignited when riches arrive and memory fades – with the court left to determine the true terms of their bond.”
The court concluded that to arrange boxing contests between members of the public is against the good morals of society and participation in these matches could possibly constitute organised crime.
Tikbox League Ltd, which turned to the court (the applicant), was described as a company which “conducts business as a promotion company, more specifically pertaining to the hosting and promotion of ”for fun Tik Tok ‘star’ fights, in a safe and controlled manner.”
Francois du Toit, the first respondent, claimed that the business was his idea in late 2022 when he “began to realise” that various local social media influences using the TikTok platform were on occasion having verbal altercations with one another.
These altercations were popular with the influencers’ following on TikTok and he decided it would be a profitable venture to arrange for these influencers to meet in person for boxing events, which events would be open to the public after they had bought tickets.
The first event was hosted in March last year and generated an income that became the centre of the dispute between the parties.
The applicant asked the court to declare Du Toit a delinquent director of Tikbox and asked that he be removed. It further asked that Du Toit and others involved in the boxing event be ordered to effect payment of the ticket sales to the applicant.
The court said that before it could determine this issue, it must first ensure the “purse was not filled with the proceeds of unlawful contracts and activities”.
Embarking upon the question of whether the contract and the business was lawful, the court said it first needed to be clarified that assault, like culpable homicide and murder, and the conspiracy to commit murder, is unlawful and a crime.
The next question it grappled with was whether an “intentional application of force to the body on another” may be regarded as a justification in our law in the instance of consent.
The crime and the type of act in question must be of such a nature that the law recognises consent to the commission of such an act as a ground of justification, it said.
The applicants argued that prize fighting was legalised by the Boxing and Wrestling Act in 1923 and thus these types of fights were legal.
But the court said boxing is tightly regulated by the South African Boxing Act and by the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act, to legalise the sport.
In referring to the Tikbox application, the court said “these arranged contests are no different to that of a schoolboy witnessing classmates being involved in a verbal argument, shouting ‘fight fight’ to encourage them to get physical and to apply bodily force to each other, recording the fight and posting it on social media with the aim to obtain responses or ‘likes’.”
The court said the undisputed facts have shown that this contest has not been legalised. “The act to engage random members of the public, in a contest which is inherently dangerous to the extent that the participants may be seriously injured or even killed, is against the good morals and unlawful, and so is the contract which the parties seek to enforce.”
It not only turned down the application, but ordered that this order be referred to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission to consider whether the purpose of the company is lawful and if not to address the issue accordingly.
The court also referred the order to the National Prosecuting Authority to consider whether a crime has been committed by any of the persons or entities mentioned herein, and if so to address the issue.