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Saturday, February 10, 2024

Josh Feldman to Face Sibusiso Muteleni Amid BSA Turmoil

Junior middleweight Joshua Feldman is scheduled to face Sibusiso Muteleni on March 8 at Box Camp Booysens in Johannesburg, South Africa. Boxing in the country, however, has grinded to a virtual standstill due to legal issues.

Zizi Kodwa, the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture in South Africa, completely replaced the board of Boxing South Africa (BSA) last November. BSA regulates the sport in the country. The new board took over on December 12. The day after, it repealed the suspension of Operations Director, Mandla Ntlanganiso.

The National Professional Boxing Promoters Association sued Minister Kodwa, arguing that the NPBPA hadn't been consulted before the board was replaced, which violated the law. As a result of the lawsuit, the new board has since ceased to function. The old board's term ran out on December 11, so there is currently no active commission in the country. South African boxers cannot fight abroad either since BSA is responsible for granting them approval to do so.

Boxing5 Promotions head Larry Wainstein, who promotes Feldman, criticized the NPBPA. He said in an interview with SA Boxing Talk, "They represent maybe twenty promoters in the country. They don't represent all the promoters. They don't represent the boxers. There are 705 registered licensed boxers. There must be countrywide- and I'm guessing because I've asked for the number and nobody can even tell me the number- fifty promoters." Wainstein then suggested the NPBPA was the tail wagging the dog.

Promoter Rodney Berman postponed his March 9 show and expressed frustration with the impasse. "This state of flux makes it impossible to go ahead as planned," he said.

Jackie Brice, another promoter, has canceled his proposed March 16. He fumed to Ink Sport, "The National Professional Boxing Promoters Association is killing boxing in this country." Bruce recently resigned from the association.

Wainstein intends to go ahead with his March 8 card, or "tournament" as shows are called in South Africa. He has asked Minister Kodwa to appoint an interim board so that boxing can continue while the legal process runs its course.

It is in this context that Feldman (2-0), a 19 year old southpaw from Cape Town, prepares for his third professional fight. His opponent, Muteleni, is from Guateng. He lost his lone pro fight on May 28 last year to Douniama Gislain by first round KO. Muteleni threw a few jabs, but mostly walked in behind a high guard and paid the price. He was knocked down twice. After the second knockdown, he stayed on a knee for the count.

Hopefully, Feldman and his fellow South African boxers will be allowed to fight soon. "They're complaining about the minister never followed procedure. Ok, he never followed procedure," Wainstein acknowledged before asking, "Must all the other people be held to ransom because the [NPBPA] want to be seen as putting their people in place?

For the sake of South African boxing, let's hope not.

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