The Boxing fraternity,
It is now 144 days since the country was placed on national lockdown and a little more since we had action in the ring. During this time we have moved from a hard lockdown; i.e. level 5, which prohibited all non-essential activities and saw the country shut down, to level 2 which comes into effect on Tuesday, 18 August 2020. Level 2 lockdown means further easing of current restrictions including the reopening of gymnasiums and the resumption of events, albeit with no spectators for now.
The move to level 2 also comes after the latest amended Regulations on sport, arts and culture were issued on 6 August 2020. Notably in the Regulations was the permission for the resumption of training and events. As a requirement for approval to resume with events, BSA is required to submit to the Minister of Sport, Arts & Culture an Operational Plan, by 21 August 2020, outlining plans for the delivery of safe and Covid-19 ready tournaments.
We have been encouraged by the enthusiasm of Promoters to assist the office in putting together this submission and ultimately setting the minimum standards for each tournament delivery and we are working with various Promoters looking at each aspect of tournament delivery; from contracting boxers, testing and implementing isolation requirements; to ensure that we develop a comprehensive and reasonable plan. Once approval of the Operational Plan is received and a definite resumption date is communicated we should see the first tournament taking place in the very near future. We are confident that this will happen soon.
Whilst we are still faced with the Covid-19 pandemic which has had a negative impact to many people, financially and socially, we are pleased to report that we have had no reported incidents of any licensee found in transgression of any of the state of national disaster regulations and lockdown restrictions. We therefore wish to thank all our licenses for heeding the call to stay at home and for being exemplary champions of the sport.
Globally there has been major developments in sport with most sporting codes returning to action. Boxing particularly has also returned to action internationally, notably; in the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Locally we have seen the return of soccer on 8 August which understandably has raised the question, “what is happening with boxing?”
With this communication we hope to respond to this question and also give an update on where BSA is administratively in relation to the resumption of boxing activities and to also outline plans going forward.
The envisaged return to the ring thus means that complementary operational areas need to be in place to support the delivery of the first tournament and the continuation of professional boxing in the country. This communication will therefore address the following operational processes;
As per our communication dated 31 May 2020, the Board resolved that the current licenses of 2019/2020 be extended until further directives are issued by the Board with regards to licensing.
We therefore hereby confirm that the current licenses will expire on Tuesday, 18 August 2020 and that licensing for the 2020/2021 financial year will open on Wednesday, 19 August 2020 and expire at the end of the financial year, i.e. 31 March 2021 in line with Section 15(2) of the Boxing Act No. 11 of 2001.
On the same aforementioned communication we also announced the development of a digital system that will, amongst other functions, be used for licensing. The online system was launched on 20 July 2020 and all applications and renewal of licenses will therefore be strictly processed online in order to adhere to the protocols of Covid-19 and the mitigation of the spread of the virus.
We have put together Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to respond to questions you may have on the system as well as online licensing.
These FAQs and further details are outlined in the accompanying document “Licensing and Testing: What You Need to Know.” These will also be posted on the BSA website under Licensing for future reference.
The date of 1 August 2020 was the communicated date whereby non-contact training was expected to resume for boxers. This however was partially put on hold because most boxing gymnasiums are located in areas which were classified as hot-spot areas. Additionally the plans for the testing of boxers had not yet been finalised.
We are however pleased to announce that BSA has finalised its collaboration with Ampath laboratories in an effort to streamline and centralise the process of testing both for Covid-19 as well as for the annual medical examination for HIV and Hepatitis as enshrined in the Regulations. We thank you for your cooperation and patience through this process. We also wish to thank the BSA’s Medical Committee for their assistance in establishing this relationship with Ampath and we hope to add other laboratories to the network in the near future.
With the move to level 2 and the reopening of gyms, Boxers are no longer expected to test before returning to gyms however testing is compulsory prior to participation in a tournament in line with the requirements of the applicable sector regulations and the test will be paid for by BSA.
Note: Each boxer billed to participate in a tournament is entitled to a once-off Covid-19 testing paid for by BSA. Follow-up tests will be for the boxer’s cost, irrespective of the results of the initial test. Only boxers who have renewed or applied for their 2020/2021 license will qualify for the free test.
Forms for medical testing for annual licensing will be available on the website by Wednesday, 19 August 2020.
Further details on this are outlined in the document “Licensing and Testing: What You Need to Know.”
The ratings as at 31 March 2020 will be used to sanction all fights until new ratings with changes are able to be produced. This means therefore that, amongst other things, all defence challenges, voluntary or mandatory, must be aligned with the ratings as at 31 March 2020 and in line with Regulation 17 of the Boxing Regulations.
The website will be updated with the monthly ratings for ease of reference.
The sanctioning of all tournaments will be made in line with the prescripts of the Act, Regulations, Tournament Policy as well as the Sanctioning & Championship Policy and Rules.
In order to support the return to the ring taking into consideration the lull of the past few months and the desire by boxers to get action, BSA will consider various ways to assist Promoters to host tournaments as well as ensuring that as many boxers as possible get an opportunity to fight. These considerations will be, but not limited to, the relaxation of the number of bouts sanctioned. Important to note is that these considerations will be implemented fairly and transparently to ensure that no licensee is discriminated in the process.
All contractual obligations between licensees which had been frozen as at 15 March 2020 will resume from the official date of resumption which will be communicated once BSA receives approval of its Operational Plan from the Minister, Mr. Nathi Mthethwa.
5. Provincial Managers
Earlier in April we learnt with sadness of the passing of one of our Provincial Managers for KwaZulu-Natal, Mr. Francis Manning. Manning’s untimely passing thus left the province without a Provincial Manger. BSA has resumed with the process of appointing a Provincial Manager in the province and interviews were held on 3 August 2020. We hope to make an appointment in due course and an announcement will be made once the appointment is finalised.
Similarly, albeit be for different reasons, Western Cape is without a Provincial Manager. BSA’s process to appoint a representative has being put on hold to allow engagements with the then Provincial Manager, Mr. Mickey Klaas and his legal representative. We are confident that will be able to resolve whatever matters are of dispute and that the province will have a representative soon.
In both cases we are making plans to ensure that all licensing paperwork in the two provinces is submitted to the office to ensure that the information is captured and that no licensee is inconvenienced in any way. For now we urge licensees in the province to communicate directly with the office through Mr. Mncedisi Ngqumba on (012) 765-9600 or e-mail email@example.com or Miss. Mohau Thebe on (012) 765-9600 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org should they have any questions.
On more pleasant news, we are pleased to announce Mr. Mzolisa Mabuya as the new Provincial Manager for Free State. Mr. Mabuya took office from 1 August 2020 and comes with a lot of experience having served the sport of boxing as a Ring Official for many years. We trust that you as licensees will work well with Mr. Mabuya.
As we transcend into the next phase in our sport and prepare for the return of tournaments, we urge you all to proceed with caution, remain on high alert and heed all the national directives as issued from time to time by the national cabinet and appointed authorities.
As BSA also bears the responsibility to protect its employees, the staff will continue to work from home only reporting to the BSA office on rotational arrangements until further notice. We therefore request your patience and understanding when you are not able to reach BSA on our landline. Our e-mails however remain attended during weekdays and we encourage you to use this medium when contacting any of the BSA employees. Provincial Managers are also available to assist with your enquiry.
For any enquiries please contact Mncedisi Ngqumba on email@example.com or (012) 765-9600.