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17.04.2007 Boxing

Respite For Pro Boxing

In recent times, Ghana boxing at the professional level seems to have attracted the spotlight, but largely for the wrong reason.

The punch-for-pay-business has taken a lot of punches from within its own circles — boxers, trainers, managers and administrators — which have tended to create a wedge among the various stakeholders and undermined the stability and development of the sport.

At the core of the apparent crisis situation has been a conflict over the sharing and management of moneys accruing from sponsorship drives.

But, invariably, it appears the odds are stacked against the chairman of the Ghana Boxing Authority GBA as the fall guy in the whole conflict. Every stakeholder seems to have pointed accusing fingers at him for stifling the flow of cash to various bodies and agencies after GBA-organised events.

The GBA boss' woes started with the novelty Mortein Boxing League, whose sponsorship money boxers, their managers and gyms alleged was under-declared and, therefore, what was being paid to them did not represent the actual percentage sums.

That aside, some of the stakeholders also had problems with the organisational structure of the Mortein League which tended to fuse amateurs into professional ranks, since the attraction of money lured half-baked boxers into the league.

This situation appears not to have changed since the GBA replaced the Mortein League with the comparatively more financially endowed Men Only Boxing League.

But, again, the gyms, boxers, trainers and managers became suspicious of their share of the sponsor's money being paid to them by the GBA and decided to boycott one of the league events. It was a big blow to the GBA and one of its partners, Metro TV, which, as usual, was set for the live telecast of the event.

It took some diplomacy on both fronts — the accusers and the accused — for the resolution of the impasse for Men Only to continue to roll. But the murmurs over money and the suspicion that someone at the GBA must be cheating the whole lot lingered.

We believe that it is this suspicion and the fixation that the GBA boss is an administrator with immense skills at the dribbles which again fed into the recent allegation of him being at it again after the Jubilee Boxing Bonanza and hence the subsequent calls for his removal.

But the ginger-haired, eloquent GBA boss has again weathered the storm as all parties in the dispute over the allegation of unpaid purses to fighters on the Jubilee Bonanza are reported to have settled their differences.

The intervention by the Sports Ministry, on one hand, and the meeting between the GBA and Alhaji Toffik's Ambition Promotions and Management Syndicate, on the other, should be lauded for showing the way and bringing about some semblance of peace which the sport, at least, needs for now.

After all, the stakeholders have been promised the chance, through the democratic channel, to elect their own leaders and possibly throw out the present GBA leadership, if they so wish, when the much trumpeted new Sports Bill is finally promulgated.

Once again, we say kudos to the Sports Ministry, the GBA and all the other stakeholders for ensuring that sanity prevails for boxing to pick itself up from its present battered state.