Box­ers back on the small screen

CityPress - - Sport - – Pule Mokhine

A num­ber of pugilists have lost their ti­tles with­out de­fend­ing them since the SABC de­clared a black­out on live box­ing broad­casts in 2012.

Some box­ers, such as erst­while In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion (IBF) ju­nior ban­tamweight king­pin Zolani Tete, were even forced to de­fend their ti­tles out­side South Africa.

Just two months ago, Tete de­cided not to de­fend his IBF ti­tle as his sched­uled manda­tory ti­tle de­fence against num­ber one chal­lenger Puerto Ri­can McJoe Ar­royo went to purse bids.

The fight was billed to take place in Puerto Rico on July 11.

How­ever, Tete re­fused to fight for what he termed a “pal­try” R70 000 purse, which he said would not cover his op­er­at­ing ex­penses.

Other prom­i­nent fight­ers who also sur­ren­dered their cham­pi­onship belts in­clude for­mer In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion (IBO) wel­ter­weight cham­pion Chris van Heer­den, Mzonke Fana and fe­male boxer Noni Tenge.

These de­ci­sions were mainly due to box­ing pro­mot­ers be­ing un­able to stage tour­na­ments in Mzansi – due to the ab­sence of TV cov­er­age.

Van Heer­den, who is now cam­paign­ing in the US, re­lin­quished his IBO wel­ter­weight di­a­dem last year.

Fana was stripped of his IBF su­per feath­er­weight cham­pi­onship belt in 2011 as he did not hon­our the manda­tory de­fence re­quire­ments.

Sim­i­larly, Tenge, the hottest fe­male boxer in the coun­try, lost her IBF wel­ter­weight crown in 2012.

There­fore, box­ing’s re­turn to the small screen has saved some of the coun­try’s world cham­pi­ons, like World Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion ju­nior wel­ter­weight champ Ali Funeka and World Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion fly­weight Moruti Mtha­lane, from los­ing their ti­tles with­out stag­ing de­fences.

Funeka and Mtha­lane have been yearn­ing to show­case their skills be­fore their home fans – and ad­vance their ca­reers.

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