Durandt slams SA promoters
Nick Durandt (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Local promoters are in the business for their own benefit and not that of the fighters, top South African boxing trainer Nick Durandt said on Thursday.
"It is because of this attitude that I have now cut contractual ties with one and all South African promoters," he said in Johannesburg.
He was leaving for Germany where South Africa's longest incumbent world champion, Moruti Mthalane, will defend his IBF flyweight title against Romanian-born Spaniard Silvio Olteanu next Saturday.
"Just think of it. Moruti has to travel overseas again to defend his title for a pittance purse of about R85,000, one of the lowest ever in boxing memory for a fight of this stature.
"It boggles the imagination that not a single South African promoter as much as participated in the purse bid to secure the services of the country's best and most respected boxer at this bargain rate -- a cynical approach which has caused him to make all his title defences overseas."
Durandt said the fighter was obliged to make the trip to defend his title.
"For his last title defence, Moruti netted a R700,000 purse. Now after another impressive win he has to go overseas again and accept R85,000 to hold onto his title, something I am sure he will achieve with a knock-out in the first seven rounds."
Durandt described the successful purse bid by German promoters SES as one of the lowest he could recall in recent times for a world title fight, and said it was a sad reflection on the state of South African boxing promoters.
Durandt said his nuggety, Johannesburg-based boxer, who has held the IBF title since 2009, had become frustrated by the lack of action. He has not fought since he gained a stunning eighth round TKO victory over the fancied Ricardo Nunes at the Roberto Duran Arena in Panama City last September.
In all, Mthalane, who is rated fourth best flyweight in the world by the authoritative Ring magazine, and boasts a record of 29 wins from 31 fights with 20 KO successes, has defended his title only four times in four years. Durandt claims this is because of promoters' reluctance to make any decent offers for a boxer of his ability and stature.
"There is generally a shortage of money in South Africa for the fighters and boxers of Moruti's ability, [who] are not getting their fair share.
"Ideally, Mthalane should be defending his title in South Africa, but the truth of the matter is that for financial reasons we now have to travel overseas again."
Although now residing in Spain, the IBF's third-highest ranked Olteanu was born in Romania. According to Durandt he is not one of Spain's big-time sporting heroes.
"But I said all along we would take the fight wherever it ends up," Durandt said.
"In more than 30 years as a successful trainer, none of the many fighters who have held titles under my charge have had to surrender their title out of the ring. What is more, Moruti has proved he has the talent and steel nerve to hold onto his title wherever he defends."
Durandt felt there was light at the end of the tunnel, with Supabets and Kappa now boosting his stable of boxers with much-needed sponsorship.
"Also, I must praise the KwaZulu provincial government for making a last-minute, but unfortunately too late effort to finance Moruti's coming fight being staged in Durban.
"Hopefully, we might be able to do business with them in the future."
Durandt also revealed that SuperSport TV had agreed to screen the Mthalane fight live.
"Believe it or not, this will be the first time in more than three years that South African boxing fans will be able to see the country's greatest champion in action, live."