20 September 2013

Namibia Boxing Control Board Turn Promoters

I AM a diehard boxing fan and have been following Namibian and world boxing ever since I can remember. I am therefore happy to note that Namibia has great boxing talent and the sport has become the most lucrative in terms of attracting supporters, at times even surpassing that of soccer. The recent Mayweather fight described as the biggest sporting event in the world once again surpassing football and tournaments like the World Cup bear testimony that the timing of MTC's investment into the sport was indeed a well calculated one. I am happy to see Telecom Namibia now also on board, the more support the sport gets the better we can produce champions as a country.

While the sport of boxing is seen by most as a violent sport, it remains a gentlemen's sport with strict discipline. The set-up is also professional where you have the Namibia Boxing Control Board whose responsibility is to ensure that the sport is properly regulated. They are the watchdogs and according to the rules and regulations of boxing worldwide no control board is supposed to get involved in promoting a fight, because that is the sole responsibility of promoters. This means that the promoters are in charge of their own affairs. They must seek funding, promote their own fights, pay their boxers and pay sanction fees to the Namibia Control Board before any fight can take place. Sanction fees are mandatory, because it means that the Namibia Control Board is happy that all requirements of the fight are in place, which includes the medicals of the boxers, weight class etc, etc.

The only time that any exchange of money takes place between the promoter and the Namibia Boxing Control Board is when the promoter pays sanction fees. Under no circumstances can the control board manage funds on behalf of the promoter. The promoter must pay all expenses of the fight from their own account. The control board must therefore be neutral and treat all promoters in the same manner. They cannot get involved in money issues and or seek sponsorship from any corporate instance on behalf of the promoter, because that would amount to a gross conflict of interest. They cannot attend press conferences with promoters with a view to promoting the fight, unless they are there to inform the media that the fight has officially been sanctioned by them.

I was therefore very surprised to hear the motor-mouth Ambrosius Kandjii, a member of the Namibia Boxing Control Board said that all boxing matches will from now on be promoted through the control board and that he will use his powers to ensure that all boxers fight under the banner of Telecom Namibia. This is insane and a gross conflict of interest, because it is like CRAN who is the regulator in the telecommunications industry saying that they will from now on support Telecom Namibia and not MTC - no regulatory body can take such a stand. Kandjii also claimed that he spoke on behalf of the entire control board.

Boxers must exercise their democratic right to choose under which promoter they want to fight and the control board has no say in that matter. The Namibia Premier League cannot tell players which club they must play for. The rules also state that board members must serve for two terms of three years only, but our control board has served since independence and that is why we have no new ideas and energy coming through.

Mr Kandjii's actions, which are no doubt driven by his personal interests, have therefore tainted the image and reputation of professional boxing in Namibia and if he has any ambitions of becoming a promoter then he must excuse himself from his regulatory responsibilities at the Namibia Boxing Control Board and resign or be removed by the appointing authority before he damages the hard earned reputation of boxing built over many years.

The sport of boxing does not need this, because we have seen many sports codes go down into decline, because of poor leadership from those at the top with rugby being a good example. It is therefore important for the president of the Namibia Boxing Control Board to explain whether all the members share the view of Mr Kandjii as apparently expressed on their behalf.

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