SABC finally ready to rumble
South African professional boxing will make a public comeback to the free-to-air small screen on Friday night when the SABC televises a live tournament – after an almost three-year blackout.
The first showdown to return live boxing to living rooms will be staged at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg, Gauteng.
Topping the bill will be the 10-round World Boxing Organisation international bantamweight match between Limpopo’s Klaas Mboyane and Zimbabwe’s Tapiwa Tembo.
The bout will be beamed live with six other supporting fights that are on promoter Manny Fernandes’ BRD Promotions bill.
In 2012, the SABC placed a blanket ban on broadcasting the sport on its television and radio channels. Consequently, fans were deprived of live action and South African world titleholders were forced to fight outside the country.
The fighters who will be slugging it out this week are excited that the sport is back on the small screen.
Mboyane said: “I will be watched by millions of people and I cannot afford to let my fans down. I will win by knockout.” He has a record of 20 wins and five defeats in 25 professional bouts.
Tembo said: “I’m ready to give a good account of myself. I’m encouraged by the fact that my supporters in my home country will be glued to their sets, witnessing my win.”
Tembo has won eight fights from 11 outings. Fernandes said his bill would be exciting. “I can guarantee that all the fighters participating on Friday are good. The fans who will be watching the fight on TV will enjoy the bill,” he said. The decision to end the boxing blackout has been welcomed by Boxing SA (BSA), the SABC and the department of sport and recreation.
“Live televising is the beginning of great things to come for professional boxing. We hope to see other provinces also getting a share of the cake in the near future,” said BSA board chairperson Ntambi Ravele.
SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng said: “Fans have been dying to see blood on TV. Now that live boxing will be shown, they will love it.” Promoter Branco Milenkovic, who won a case against the BSA and the SABC in 2012 over broadcasting rights and has another court case pending, could not be drawn to comment.
“I’ll only comment once the court case is over – very soon,” he said.
Previous International Boxing Federation super flyweight kingpin Zolani Tete said it was great to see boxing being broadcast again. He was one of the top local fighters who was forced to fight abroad as a result of the broadcast blackout at home.
“I can’t wait to have my future bouts shown live by the SABC. This is a breath of fresh air,” said Tete, who relinquished his crown two weeks ago without defending it.
Tete cited a paltry fight purse as his reason for doing so, saying he would not fight for peanuts.
STRONG BILL Promoter Manny Fernandes’ boxing
event will be televised live by