Johannesburg - Erstwhile Boxing SA ring official Andile Matika is relishing his new job as the fight commissioner for the International Boxing Organisation (IBO).
One of the country’s most experienced professional boxing referees and judges, Matika (58), who is from Mdantsane in East London, has been appointed by the world sanctioning body to oversee IBO bouts in the country.
Since taking up refereeing and judging in 1988, he has been a familiar sight at big tournaments, where he is often seen stopping boxers from pounding one another in the square jungle. At times, he is seen judging bouts.
But, these days, Matika is always spotted assuming a laid-back role of ensuring that fight officials stick to the IBO rules during the contests to ensure that the bouts go smoothly.
He has decided to quit officiating in local bouts to concentrate on his IBO duties.
“IBO president Ed Levine phoned me from Fiji in December and asked me if I was interested in being their commissioner because I have been in the game for a long time – I’ve officiated in IBO contests since 2004. I jumped at the opportunity,” said Matika.
“My role is to read the rules of the fights to the camps of both boxers and ring officials at the weigh-in a day before the event. I also make the camps sign consent forms.
“I enjoy my role very much.”
Showing me the ropes
Matika, who claims to receive a stipend from the IBO for his role, said he also met ring officials on the day of the fight to ensure they understood the rules before the bouts got under way.
He supervised the IBO light flyweight title fight between Hekkie “Hexecutioner” Budler and Filipino Joey Canoy at Emperors Palace last month. In December, he took charge of the IBO lightweight contest between Mzonke Fana and Ghanaian Emmanuel Tagoe at Bukom Arena in Accra.
“Mzonke fought a good fight and collapsed due to high temperatures at the venue. This was a tough assignment for me as a supervisor.”
Matika’s next assignment as commissioner will be the IBO super flyweight championship between Gideon Buthelezi and Mexican Angel Aviles at the Ekurhuleni Indoor Sports Centre in Kempton Park on Friday.
“I would like to thank Boxing SA’s Eastern Cape chairperson Phakamile Jacobs and former referee Len Hunt for showing me the ropes on how to supervise local fights.
“I’m where I am today because of them,” said Matika.