The boxing scene in Ghana has over the past weeks not been sound as the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) has been held by the Boxing Promoters Association of Ghana as not been responsible over welfare issues, and supporting Imax Media to acquire license to operate as a promoter.
Some promoters, namely; Box Office, Ace Power and Cabic who are known to be the most active boxing promoters are at loggerheads with their regulator (GBA) because they claim the GBA has supported Imax to attract sponsors for the Ghana Professional Boxing League, and also increased licensing fees which could affect them and disrupt the progress of boxing in the country if not checked.
For instance, the GBA plays a supervisory role in boxing development in the country with its mandate from the state while promoters remain the key actors in ensuring fighters get a chance to remain active.
Both roles are crucial and must be respected as such.
The promoters have alleged that everything about dialogue in boxing changed the moment Mr Neequaye was elected president of the GBA.
The leadership of the promoters association stated at a press conference last Monday at the Idrowhyte Events Center that the GBA had turned the boxing governing body into a promotion syndicate when its mandate is to be a regulator for the sport, according to their constitution.
The President of the Boxing Promoters Association of Ghana, Mr. Alex Ntiamoah Boakye, said: “Per the GBA constitution, the GBA cannot and should not engage in the business of promotions but as it stands, the GBA is cunningly attempting to arrogate all the work of promoters, coaches, boxers and other stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to bring boxing to where it is today to a first timer, IMAX Media Group.”
The accusation raised so many concerns as to why a regulatory body which is supposed to be independent in its dealings will grant a broadcaster a promotional license when IMAX Media Group’s objective is to be exclusive broadcast right holders.
All over the world, I am yet to see a broadcaster promoting boxing because it is never done. It is in this light that I feel the pain of the promoters who have worked tirelessly over the years to develop the sport.
I haven’t been in support of the whole professional boxing league thing because of the structure and I have made my concerns about how it destroys so many half-baked boxers who force their way to turn pro because of the money involved.
The promoters also complained about the outrageous increment in License C renewal fee and the Manager’s License renewal fee being demanded by the GBA.
The GBA is requesting GH¢3000 as license fee for a first time promoter, which used to cost GH¢1000. The renewal fee of a promoter which cost GH¢500 has been increased to GH¢1500 without any consultation between the two bodies.
Also, managers who were paying GH¢500 as licence fees are now required to pay GH¢2000, with the renewal also shooting up from GH¢200 to GH¢1000.
Although the GBA statutes give the Executive Board the right to review licensing fees, the over 100 per cent increment will only go a long way to murder interest in persons who are willing to help develop the sport.
The GBA must not be an autocratic governing body to its members, and it is not right for them to take decisions without consulting their members.
The boxing industry in Ghana is not a profitable one, especially on the part of promoters who spend so much to put shows together but get little or nothing in return due to low patronage of events in the country.
The GBA should have been considerate in its decision to increase license fees in the country.
Many people hold promotion licenses from the GBA but only a few of them have the courage to put together boxing events for the development of the sport.
As a body, the GBA must not be seen to be killing initiatives of these promoters who sweat to put boxing events together to produce world champions.
With the boxing league, it will be good if all the stakeholders come together to have a successful event if all the top fighters based in the country are to participate in it.
Currently, there are clubs, managers and promoters who are not interested in seeing their boxers participating in the league just because their concerns have being ignored by the GBA.
Indeed there should be peace in Ghana Boxing. The best for the sport is what we need now and the two parties must try to find a common ground for solutions.
From Sammy Heywood Okine