Boxing control board again under fire … Salute boxers not yet paid

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Otniel Hembapu

Windhoek-The ever-troubled Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB) is again at the centre of an ugly brewing storm after it emerged that the control board bypassed its own rules and went ahead to sanction Salute Boxing Academy’s boxing bonanza without receiving payment.

As per the Namibian boxing act, it is highly unlawful for the boxing control board to sanction fights without receiving payment of sanction fees from promoters who stage fights or boxing bonanzas.
But it has since emerged that NPBWCB earlier this month unlawfully sanctioned Salute Boxing’s ‘Showdown Boxing Bonanza’ without receiving payment from promoter Kiriat Kamanya and in the process the board breached their very own act.

At the bonanza, boxer Vakufilapo ‘Cowboy’ Wilhelm was the main act on the night and he successfully went on to retain his World Boxing Federation (WBF) Africa super welterweight title with a sixth-round stoppage against Malawian opponent Limbani Masamba at the Windhoek Showgrounds.

Kamanya was expected to pay more than N$200,000 in sanction fess in order for his fights to be fully sanctioned but the promoter strangely managed to twist the arms of the control board members and went ahead to stage his fights without meeting the set financial requirements as per the boxing act.

Sources privy to information said Kamanya only gave the control board N$32,000 in hard cash at the venue to calm the tempers of the board members and avoid embarrassment with the public as the fights were at risk of being called off. He then promised to pay the remaining more than N$150,000 in a few days’ time but he has since failed to deliver on that promise.

Some boxers that participated in the bonanza yesterday contacted New Era Sport to vent their frustrations over the non-payment of their purse money, saying: “Kamanya has been promising to pay us but nothing is forthcoming in that regard. We are now getting tired because it seems like he is lying to us. Some of us depend on boxing for a living and for him to start playing games with our livelihood is not fair at all. We want our money, otherwise we will go to all newspapers and expose him further,” said one of the boxers who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Contacted for comment, NPBWCB’s acting chief administrator Hendrick Mapele confirmed that Salute Boxing still owes the control board more than N$150,000 in unpaid sanction fees and that they recently contacted Kamanya to remind him to honour his arrears.

“What happened is that the fights were on a Saturday and on the Friday, Kamanya promised that his sponsors will be paying the money over to the board before lunchtime on that same Friday, so that fights can smoothly go ahead the next day, which was going to be the Saturday fight night. But that Friday went by without any payment and we again engaged Kamanya to further enquire about payment of sanction fees but he was still making further promises that the money was going to come through but it never did. So when we threatened to call off his fights at the venue, which would have been a big embarrassment as members of the public had bought tickets and some ministers were also in attendance, he then went to collect ticket money and some money from tables that were bought, which only amounted to N$32,000. We had no choice but to allow the fights to continue and engage him later, which we did,” explained Mapele.

“Like I said, he (Kamanya) still owes the board money and we will follow it through, even if it means taking legal routes because we as the board end up being compromised and our image tarnished by such acts. So that is what basically happened. But we are very much still after the outstanding money and he has to pay it in full. I admit that we went against our own act but that’s how things went down that night. It was not an easy decision to make but we had to make it.”

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