BOXING South Africa could find itself bobbing and weaving in court if Dingaan Thobela forces the body to explain the criteria it used to relicense and sanction the South African heavyweight title between Anton Nel and Hein van Bosch last weekend.
A livid Thobela is seeking legal advice after watching the fight between Nel, 45, and Bosch, 43, with keen interest. Thobela said when Boxing South Africa revoked his boxer’s licence two weeks after renewing it in 2011, they quoted Rule 3.
‘‘They said (Rule 3) stipulated that a boxer who is over 35 years old ... must have fought in 12 months in order to be relicensed, otherwise the licence will not be renewed," said Thobela, who was 44 years old and had not fought since 2006 when he renewed his licence.
Nel — who stopped Van Bosch over eight rounds — had last fought on April 29 in 2011 when he was stopped in five rounds by Wiseman Dlomo for the same title. Van Bosch had last seen competitive action in July last year when he stopped Basil Ray in the first round of their six-round fight in Boksburg.
Thobela — the former WBC super middleweight champion — had already signed a contract with promoter Jeff Ellis to meet Basil Ray in the heavyweight class.
Their bout was to feature in African Ring’s box-and-dine tournament that Ellis was to jointly present with Rodney Berman’s Golden Gloves at Emperors Palace on August 29 in 2011.
‘‘Was I treated so shabbily and humiliated simply because I’m a black man or rules and regulations apply only to certain individuals? I did all the medicals in order to be relicensed, but the impression given by Boxing South Africa is that I forged documents. My reputation was tainted," said the former WBO and WBA lightweight title holder, who retired from boxing after that saga.
‘‘My constitutional right was tampered with and I was also denied a living. Anyway, I will be consulting with professional advisers. I had big plans after fighting Basil Ray. I know that some people will say I’m blowing hot air when I reveal now that there was a strong possibility of me fighting Bernard Hopkins.
‘‘I could have been the first local fighter to have won the WBC light heavyweight division at 45. But that never happened, all because of Boxing South Africa’s double standards."
Speaking from Parliament on Tuesday, Boxing South Africa acting CE Loyiso Mtya said Thobela was taken as a new licensee because he was already more than 35 years old and had not fought for more than three years.
‘‘In that situation the regulations disqualify him. Beside that, there were also medical issues. Nel and Bosch have been within the system and the regulations say nothing stops us from renewing their licence for as long as they passed all their medical tests. They can box until they are 50 years old," said Mtya.
‘‘One of our responsibilities is to guard for the health of boxers, especially when it comes to their age.
"As a condition for the fight last week, we sent Nel and Hein van Bosch for medicals and they passed everything," he said.
Dr Steven Saad, who examined Thobela before the renewal of his licence, said: ‘‘I did the basic tests that I do to all fighters and Dingaan passed it. I signed the form that he can fight."