By Mesuli Zifo
The South African Parliament on Tuesday called a meeting between the local boxing commission (Boxing South Africa), former IBF world junior lightweight champion Mzonke Fana and top promoter Branco Milenkovic to seek answers about Fana’s tripping of his IBF 130 lbs crown last month.
The meeting attended by other promoters was expected to discuss other boxing related issues affecting the sport in the country such as the tax boxers owe to South African Revenue Services (Sars).
Top SA fighters such as current IBF junior featherweight champion Takalane Ndlovu, former IBF junior lightweight champion Cassius Baloyi are owing large sums of money to Sars even though a percentage of their purses was deduced by the local commission for tax purposes but never paid over to Sars.
But the meeting called by SA Parliament’s Sport Portfolio Committee focused its discussion on Fana’s stripping, leaving other promoters, who wanted to raise other boxing related issues, frustrated.
Attended by Fana’s ex manager Butityi Konki and his current manager Mava Malla, the meeting heard how Milenkovic withdrew Fana from his mandatory title defence against Argenis Mendez that was scheduled for June 11 at Carnival City in Brakpan, South Africa.
Milenkovic said he withdrew Fana from the fight after learning that the fighter was preparing for the encounter on his own.
However Fana insisted that he never signed the contract for the fight after he and Milenkovic verbally deadlocked on the purse.
As Fana’s mandatory defence obligations had long passed, the IBF executed its rule and relieved him of the 130 pound title.
Malla insisted that his charge wanted to be compensated for the loss of income because of the stripping of his title.
“Fana was denied an opportunity to earn an income and was stripped of his title not for his own doing,” he said.
The meeting resolved that Milenkovic, BSA and Fana’s management should find a solution about the stripping and report back to the portfolio committee within 14 days.
It remains to be seen if the ‘’solution’’ will influence the IBF to reinstate Fana as the champion especially as Mendez has already been mandated to fight Mexican Juan Carlos Salgado for the vacant title on August 20 in Mexico.