Khayelitsha twins Zumbonge, left, and Bongani Nocele in a playful mood ahead of a training session at the 9SAI Boxing Club, at the military base in Town Two. Photo: CCN/Northern News
Khayelitsha twins Zumbonge, left, and Bongani Nocele in a playful mood ahead of a training session at the 9SAI Boxing Club, at the military base in Town Two. Photo: CCN/Northern News

Boxers depend on prize money but Boxing SA supports Covid-19 measures

By Matshelane Mamabolo Time of article published Mar 24, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG – Boxing South Africa (BSA) has done all they can to ensure that their members are safe from the coronavirus, uppermost in their actions being the cancellation of all scheduled fights until a directive from the SA government dictates it is safe for sporting events to continue.

But BSA chief executive Tsholofelo Lejaka continues to worry about the “training facility safety” and is toying with the idea of calling a halt to all training.

“Of course this is a tricky time for all of us and we have done all we could, like immediately deactivating all our approved plans as well as cancelling tournaments,” Lejaka said yesterday. That way, BSA has fallen into line with SA President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for no gatherings of over a 100 people at a place.

But by calling off fights, BSA could well have robbed boxers who were counting on fight purses in March and April for their livelihood

“It is a very difficult situation for everyone because there are boxers who had budgeted on prize money for their upcoming fights. The bulk of our monies for fights come from municipalities who host these events and thus sponsor the promoters and we are hoping that those who had already committed would not pull out despite the cancellations,” Lejaka said.

Even without scheduled competitive events, sportsmen and women continue to train and boxers are no different. This has left Lejaka with a headache.

“Our current worry has to do with the training facilities safety. While we have given an instruction that there should be no sparring, boxers continue to train. In the upmarket gyms which are spacious and well resourced, things could be okay. But in the townships where the spaces are small and often overcrowded with many boxers sharing equipment there could be a problem. For that reason, we are even considering issuing a moratorium on training,” Lejaka said.

It could be a tough call to make and Lejaka was waiting on the latest directive from the country’s highest office - scheduled for late yesterday - to hear what other measures were being taken to protect the country from the pandemic.

Like most institutions, BSA has also had to find ways of protecting their direct employees from the virus and Lejaka said those who could work from home have been told to do so.

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“The long-term uncertainty of this situation has forced us to redefine our labour and rearrange our business plans.” 

Matshelane Mamabolo

@Tshiliboy

 

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