Johannesburg - The appointment of new officials to run the affairs of Boxing SA (BSA) seems to be bearing fruit.
Over the past few years, the state of professional boxing has been in the throes of a crunching knockout because of poor administration and bungling officials.
Then came a bold step in June when Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula installed Tsholofelo Lejaka as the organisation’s CEO, Thabang Moses as chief financial officer and Sabelo Silinga as director of operations.
Without trying to downplay the efforts made by other BSA members, Lejaka’s capable stewardship is there for everyone to see and is beginning to yield positive results.
During the six months that the new BSA machinery has been operational, a number of goals have been attained by the organisation on behalf of licensees.
The protection and great service from the association that boxers are beginning to enjoy this year is unprecedented.
A classic case in point was the decision to compensate boxers who had participated in tournaments this year but had not been paid their purse money.
The fighters included lightweight Xolisani Nomeva Ndongeni, whose R100 000 was not paid by Sijuta Promotions’ Andile Sidinile after a 10-round bout against Tanzanian Emilio Norfat at the Orient Theatre in East London in April.
Another fighter who was also helped by BSA, Simpiwe 12V Vetyeka (featherweight), had also featured on the same card and was not paid R300 000 for his efforts in the ring.
There are a number of other pugilists who were not given anything for fighting during contests this year. They will soon be smiling all the way to the bank, courtesy of BSA and Lejaka.
This really shows that the controlling body has the interests of its licensees at heart and it’s a positive development.
But BSA must also act swiftly to get sponsors for championship belts. Imagine winning a title and not having anything to show for your exploits in the ring.
Surely BSA must prioritise this as a matter of urgency? It’s bad for the image of boxing.
The association must also ensure that the ratings committee does its job properly. More often than not, ratings are not updated, even if some fighters fought in a particular month.
Another commendable stride taken by the new-look BSA this year was honouring and rewarding outstanding performances of excellent services.
That is, awarding boxers, trainers, promoters and other key players. The awards ceremony will be held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban on January 28.
For many years, South African fighters have been tearing one another up in the square jungle without their God-given talent being rewarded.
And the new BSA order has ensured that the boxing fraternity will have something remarkable to enthuse about.
Another positive step brought about by the new regime this year was the aggressive staging of boxing tournaments throughout the provinces via the Boxing is Back campaign.
This year has seen more fights attracting much fanfare compared with previous years, simply because of the new-look BSA’s commendable enthusiasm in running the sport.
With such positive drive to inject life into boxing, next year could yield even better results for the administration of boxing.
Keep those punches coming, Lejaka and company.