The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and Boxing South Africa will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding. The agreement between the two organisations is aimed at professionalising and reviving the sport of boxing in the country.
The three-year deal with BSA and the boxing promoters will be implemented from March next year until 2025.
The main aim of the Memorandum of Understanding is to bring live boxing tournaments back on SABC television screens.
With the new proposed deal, no promoter will get any preferential treatment.
The sport of boxing used to own Sunday afternoons on SABC but this is no longer the case.
Currently, the public broadcaster only has a boxing programme that is aired on Friday evening on SABC 2.
“Boxing remains one of the most popular sports in this country. Boxing fans around this country are a legion. We’ve got a huge boxing audience in this country, which we need to re-engage with and I think that this step that we are taking now with Boxing South Africa is a large part of that. We talk about bringing boxing back on the SABC. I think what we are doing now is bringing Boxing South Africa back into the SABC and that’s what today is all about”, says SABC Sport General Manager Gary Rathbone.
All boxing promoters will be treated equally by the public broadcaster.
But promoters will have to satisfy a particular criterion for their tournaments to enjoy live coverage on television. Promoters who don’t comply will be overlooked.
“Equal treatment if you do qualify in terms of the criteria, remember promoters are not the same there are development promoters, there are national promoters, and there are international promoters in the country. However, SABC is a public entity, as a public entity there has to be that development aspect so within that criteria every promoter has got an opportunity to apply. Once you apply, there is a criterion that you will have to go through in order for you to get a particular date,” BSA Director of Operations Mandla Ntlanganiso explains.
Future dates will now be fairly allocated to different promoters, from different provinces.
“We are saying now, let’s up the game. There’s a lot of competition within the sporting fraternity. So, as the boxing fraternity, we need to up the game to make sure that we do compete at the highest echelons. Boxing was once the number two sport in the country and I believe that we can still go to that particular position again and even surpass that.”
But the SABC and BSA have to secure a reasonable sponsorship to ensure live coverage of boxing.
“The corporate must come on board. Here is an opportunity, here is the space to make sure that you do sell your products. Let’s seat around the table and see how we can work together in terms of promoting the sport. This is the sport that is good for social cohesion; this is the sport that is good for nation-building; this is the sport that will be able to take one from a poor background and be able to make one rich. The richest sportsman in the world is a boxer. So, why can’t we do it in South Africa”, says Ntlanganiso.
Women’s boxing will not be overlooked in future tournaments.
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