Dude, where’s my belt?
Boxing SA (BSA) is looking to secure a sponsor to restore the quality and availablity of its national championship belts.
The sport locally is facing a bit of a challenge due to the shortage of these national symbols for titleholders.
This came after the BSA cut ties with its previous sponsor, distilling company Old Buck, in 2006. The company had provided quality boxing belts since 1997.
Boxing rules state that a South African champ should receive a belt for his efforts.
But of late, they are like hen’s teeth.
A case in point is South Africa’s new cruiserweight king, Kevin Lerena, who had to pose with Gideon Buthelezi’s middleweight belt in the ring after he dethroned Deon Coetzee at Emperors Palace last month.
Lerena said this week he was still waiting for his prize.
BSA board chairperson Ntambi Ravele acknowledged the situation, admitting there was a shortage of belts.
“We are looking at securing sponsorship for our national belts,” she said. “There aren’t enough belts at the moment for all our champs in all weight classes.
“I am optimistic that the BSA will get a sponsor soon, so all our national champs will be presented with belts after winning.”
Lerena said: “It’s strange that I won the national title, but was not presented with the belt.
“I’m still waiting for answers from the BSA on why I don’t have something to show for being crowned national champion.”
BSA board member Peter Ngatane also decried the absence of belts.
“This is a worrying issue, but we hope to do something soon to solve this problem.
“We’d like to ensure that all our national champs take pride in fighting for championship belts, as was the case previously.”
Ngatane said it was imperative for the BSA to review the availability and quality of the belts.
Previously, any South African boxer who won a national title and defended it successfully on three occasions owned the belt.
In 1991, this was amended to five successful defences. Also, no fighter can hold more than one belt in the same weight class.
PROUD WBA flyweight champion Peter Mathebula with the revered Old Buck championship belt in 1980
PATIENT Kevin Lerena is still waiting for his championship belt after winning the SA cruiserweight title