Windhoek – Three of the country’s top boxing promoters have declared a motion of no confidence in the current members of the Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB).
Namibia’s internationally acclaimed boxing promoter Nestor ‘Sunshine’ Tobias of the MTC Nestor Sunshine Boxing & Fitness Academy and Kinda Nangolo of Kinda Boxing Promotions, as well as female promoter Anita Tjombe of Iron Lady Boxing Promotions, yesterday called a press conference in the capital where they raised a raft of issues currently hampering the smooth running of professional boxing in the country.
First to air her concerns was Tjombe, who blasted the newly appointed NPBWCB board members, especially its chairperson Ellison Hijarunguru, for making the lives of the country’s boxing promoters a living hell since they took office a few months ago.
Anita criticized Hijarunguru for his unprofessional behaviour and referred to an incident where Hijarunguru called Tjombe a ‘stupid blonde’ after she questioned the chairperson as to why he was taking so long to sanction her boxing bonanza.
“Hijarunguru is not being consistent in his practice. He single-handedly cancelled Iron Lady Promotions’ fight at the 11th hour two weeks ago even though the required sanction fees were already in their account. We know of instances where other promoters went ahead with their fights and where boxers were only paid weeks after the board had sanctioned the fight and now the very same Hijarunguru, who sanctioned those fights, is refusing to do the same.
Such inconsistencies are unacceptable and boil down to favouritism,” said Tjombe before calling for Hijarunguru’s head to roll.
Second to fire away was Nangolo, who came out guns blazing also against Hijarunguru and his board for allegedly threatening to suspend his (Nangolo’s) boxing licence because of outstanding fees owed to one of his boxers.
Nangolo yesterday also claimed that the previous NPBWCB board under which Hijarunguru also served as vice-chairperson owes him over N$75 000, an amount which they never paid him until today.
“How can Hijarunguru threaten me with suspension because of N$25 000 that I apparently owe, but forgetting that they owe me N$75 000? Hijarunguru is not fit to run boxing in this country, this man will kill our sport,” charged Nangolo.
Concluding the press briefing was Tobias, who stressed the importance of good cooperation between the board and promoters, calling for respect from both parties in the interest of boxing.
Tobias specifically pointed out the new board’s strange behaviour of cancelling promoters’ fights if their funds are not paid into their accounts within two weeks before staging the fight.
“We all know that boxing is an expensive sport, and that promoters in most instances struggle till the last minute to make the fights happen. If this is the new rule of the board, we will not have professional boxing in Namibia anymore and they will cease to exist because without promoters and fights there is no use for the existence of the board,” he argued.
He also advised that promoters must at least be given time till before official weigh-in to demonstrate that they have the required funds to stage fights. He also argued that promoters must pay boxers directly and not through the board.
Tobias further made reference to the old Boxing Act of 1980 called the South West African Act, which is outdated and has no relevance to boxing today.
“The act prohibits women from boxing, it caps promoters from not paying sanction fees in excess of N$30 000, even though certain promoters pay over N$400 000 in sanction fees to the board. They (the board) must engage the promoters and players in the boxing community to find common ground and iron out any challenges with immediate effect before it affects the sport negatively,” said Tobias.Contacted for comment, Hijarunguru rubbished all accusations, specifically those of Nangolo, saying the board does not owe him a cent.
“If they want to be part of the solution then why did they call a separate press conference instead of coming to us? They have their own agenda that they want to drive, so all I can say is good luck to them because I’m here to do my job and not do what they want me to do.”
On the outdated Act, Hijarunguru said board members were hard at work formulating a new boxing act, which will probably be launched early next year with the approval of the minister.
Read full story on New Era Newspaper Namibia