Boxers back on the small screen
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.