Johannesburg - Premier Boxing League (PBL) founder Dicksy Ngqula has broken his silence on the controversy surrounding the R1.6 million he owes four boxers.
In an interview with City Press, Ngqula said he was hoping to meet the quartet next week to resolve the matter.
Among the four fighters is SA lightweight champion Xolani Ndongeni from Mount Frere in East London, who is owed R1 million for being the overall winner of the league, which was introduced two years ago.
The other three are flyweight Makazole Tete and featherweight Macbute Sinyabi, both from East London, and Toto Helebe, a bantamweight from Cape Town - who are owed R200 000 each.
The nonpayment of the four pugilists has become a major talking point in boxing circles.
Ngqula has also been threatened with legal action for not delivering on his promises.
The league ended in February and Ngqula made a commitment to pay the prize monies within a month – an undertaking he failed to live up to.
Ngqula told City Press the delay was caused by funding hitches.
“Look, we could not pay the money on time because of funding discrepancies for our project,” he explained.
“We got the money for the final of the tournament in the Eastern Cape in February. However, we experienced a shortfall and were unable to pay the boxers on time.
“I hope to meet with the fighters next week and make them understand how we are going to settle their payments. We are looking at June to fix everything,” Ngqula added.
He noted that the Eastern Cape Gambling Board had sponsored R3.5 million for the league’s tournaments for this season and the next.
“This shows the PBL is not in the red, as some of our critics think,” he said.
Ngqula said some of his detractors were out to paint a poor picture of him as a promoter.
“Some jealous people are just trying to go all out to rubbish us by saying we are cheats.
“I am not going to allow myself and the success of my project to be destroyed by critics.
“I have worked very hard and received support from Boxing SA for what I’m doing for boxing in the country,” he said.
Ndongeni, who is now based in Johannesburg, where he is trained by Colin Nathan, said he would fight to the bitter end to be paid his prize money.
“I feel terrible because it’s like I was robbed in broad daylight by Ngqula.
“You cannot fight and be promised R1 million, only not to be paid anything for your efforts,” he added.
Veteran promoter Rodney Berman, who manages Ndongeni, said he was taking legal steps against Ngqula. So are the other boxers’ handlers.