SABC fi­nally ready to rum­ble

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

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.

PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

STRONG BILL Pro­moter Manny Fer­nan­des’ box­ing

event will be tele­vised live by

the SABC

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