Windhoek – Namibia’s female boxing promoter Anita Tjombe yesterday spared no words in expressing her dissatisfaction with the Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB) chairman Ellison Hijarunguru, labeling Hijarunguru a liar and a disgrace to the oath of boxing.
Tjombe’s scathing attack on the persona of Hijarunguru stems from the NPBWCB’s decision to uplift the suspension on Salute Boxing Academy after Hijarunguru and his board claimed that there was not enough evidence to justify Salute’s suspension.
Salute Boxing Academy earlier this year came under fire and was subsequently suspended after New Era Sport exclusively reported that World Boxing Federation (WBF) president Howard Goldberg was allegedly violently manhandled by some members of the academy and sympathisers during the academy’s Harambee Boxing Bonanza held in Walvis Bay in June after Tyson Ushona lost to Deniz Ilbay of Germany.
At the time the academy was suspended by the NPBWCB board, which was chaired by Kelly Nghixulifwa, but the term of that board shortly came to an end and they left the case pending, which was then taken over by the new board under the stewardship of Hijarunguru.
Just a few weeks into office, Hijarunguru and his board members strangely and summarily removed the case from the radar and subsequently lifted the ban on Salute Boxing Academy, citing lack of evidence to formulate any charges against the academy.
But as of yesterday, and rightfully so, Tjombe was not entirely convinced of Hijarunguru’s decision and claims that there was no evidence to justify the suspension – when she publicly played a short video clip on the big screen TV showing a certain group of people attacking Goldberg while Hijarunguru was clearly standing in the ring watching the drama unfold.
In that video, which is also in possession of New Era Sport, Hijarunguru appeared to be talking to someone on ringside where the fracas unfolded but did little in making sure the fight was stopped as he just stood watching. Also in that video, NPBWCB’s chief administrator Joe Kaperu is seen coming to the rescue of Goldberg trying to shield him from further harm.
“Hijarunguru is a liar and he even knows that he lied to the entire nation about details around the suspension of Salute Boxing Academy. He clearly deceived the nation by saying that he did not see Goldberg being attacked by a group of men, while he can be clearly seen in the video standing in the ring and watching the men attacking an official,” charged Tjombe.
Pressed for comment yesterday, Hijarunguru wasted little time in limping to his own defence, labelling Tjombe an “attention seeking” person out to tarnish his “good” reputation. He also pleaded ignorance when asked if he has ever seen such a video, saying he has never seen such a video nor did he see the scuffle take place that night.
“Anita has some serious issues with me and my board. I don’t know if she wants me to do things the way she sees fit or what? About her fights that she’s claiming I sabotaged, she herself knows that all her papers were not in place including the boxers’ contracts and medical documents, so what did she want me to do? Just sanction the fight?” queried a venting but somewhat defensive Hijarunguru.
Regarding the Salute case, he said: “There was no evidence to suspend Salute Boxing Academy. I mean in the absence of a charge sheet how do we formulate any charges against someone? So we were left with no option but to lift the suspension.”
“She (Anita) is an attention seeking person who is clearly out to ruin my reputation but I will defend himself and my board members. We are here to do our work and not to please people.”