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FEATURE: Where is government’s support for boxing?

BY: Bernard Neequaye

I woke up last Thursday to news about the government’s financial support to Premier League clubs. But inasmuch as it deserved commendation, I don’t understand where the other sporting disciplines went wrong.

I have to commend the government for the initiative because it would at least cushion clubs who have so much to spend in meeting COVID-19 restrictions at this time.

It was a good thing to do but why must the other sporting disciplines suffer for football to continue being the sole beneficiary of government’s support over the years.?

The decision to leave out a sport like boxing continues to beat my imagination, especially when it has produced nine world champions for the state.

Boxing has been off the radar for nine months since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and with the strict guidelines needed to stage bouts, most promoters will find it difficult to meet the financial demands to stage fights.

When the government gave the green light for contact sports to resume, it was based on the state sponsoring them with COVID-19 tests for athletes.

As it stands, promoters are struggling to meet the financial demands of all the guidelines needed to stage bouts with boxers set to pay the price for the inability of boxing competitions to come off since March.

But the question remains why a boxer must pay the price for their promoters’ inability to meet the financial demands to stage fight nights?

For the record, these fighters have been out of job for nine months,  but the government cares less about their plight. If there is a national cake to be shared within the sporting fraternity, why should boxing and the other disciplines be left out?

After all, did all the athletes in this country not suffer because of the COVID-19 outbreak? If so, why then should a particular discipline be supported with the rest left hanging?



Boxing’s neglect

I am not surprised because we live in a country that state institutions make hefty investments in football but fail to apply similar actions on the other disciplines.

It is becoming a norm that footballers in the country are always given preferential treatment and that must stop. This does not breed harmony among our athletes and must be checked.

No one is saying football doesn’t deserve support but what becomes of other sports like boxing that has contributed so much to the country?

Over the years, boxers have been left to their own fate to achieve success before they gain attention and support by the state.

This, I don’t think must be condoned because nurturing talents in our part of the world remains one of the most difficult tasks.

Due to this practice, the country continues to lose so many talented boxers due to the inability of their handlers to propel them to the top.



Government must act

Boxing is said to be a Mafia sport and until you have financially endowed individuals behind fighters, Ghana will continue to produce champions every other decade.

I will be looking forward to see the government presenting the Ghana Boxing Authority and the amateur federation with a financial support to also cushion them at this time.

If that doesn’t happen, I will be forced to believe the notion that successive governments are not willing to have a change of mind on the development  of other sporting disciplines expect football.

I am very particular about the sponsorship package for boxing because our fighters need to resume competitions in order to stay active.

And the government having abandon promoters and managers on their pledge to cater for fighters’ COVID-19 tests can reward the various boxing gyms with financial rewards.

I hope the Ministry of Youth and Sports would heed this advice to be able to have fight nights resume quickly in the country.