LEGENDARY boxing official Alfred Buqwana says he felt humiliated when security personnel pushed him about roughly as he tried to gain entrance at the Dube Boys Club in Soweto last Thursday before the arrival of boxing star Floyd Mayweather.
The 72-year-old soft-spoken former Transvaal featherweight boxing champion from the same boxing establishment says he did not have accreditation.
"That was because those who arranged for Mayweather’s visit did not communicate with the relevant people. Otherwise I would have been in possession of the accreditation because the people in charge of this gym (Steve Masike and George Ngwenya) would have distributed them to all us former members of this gym," Buqwana said on Monday.
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula was behind the visit but officials from the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture in Gauteng, as well as administrators from a private events-management firm, were in charge of accreditation.
Private security personnel were posted at the door. Clearly they knew nobody from the boxing fraternity — hence their attitude towards the internationally renowned official.
Buqwana has officiated in many high-profile world title fights around the world including the WBC, IBF and IBO heavyweight championship between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson in America on June 8 2002 when Lewis stopped Tyson in the eighth round.
"I was fortunate that Takalani Ndlovu (former multiple world champion who trained at the same Dube gym) was passing by. He noticed what was happening and spoke to the security guys who then relented," said Buqwana.
"Yes, I was abused. The minister should have consulted with the relevant people.
"We are still alive and available to assist in everything in that gym," Buqwana said.
He played a key role in persuading boxing manager Theo Mthembu to join the Dube Boys Club when the gym’s manager, Phillip "Kid Dynamite" Lekwete, was getting on in years.
Buqwana said Lekwete, from Dube, was a flyweight boxer who started using the facility.
"He was the first person to use the gym, which was a bath-house. We followed him, and Masike came after us.
"Masike did not box but trained. After some time, I went over to Holy Cross at Orlando West, where Mthembu managed boxers like Ezrom Ngcobo and Herbert Hlubi, to persuade him to come over to Dube to manage us," Buqwana said.
"We introduced him to Lekwete, who gladly handed over the gym to Mthembu in September 1957," said Buqwana, who survived death by the skin of his teeth from angry spectators for his verdict in a local fight between Arthur Mayisela and Harold Volbrecht at Sun City in 1986.
They knocked their heads together accidentally in the fourth round and Volbrecht sustained a cut. Blood was streaming down, blocking Volbrecht’s view. Buqwana summoned the ringside doctor, who advised that the South African welterweight bout be stopped.
Buqwana — the sole arbiter — declared it a technical draw, and Volbrecht retained his belt, which angered people who bayed for Buqwana’s blood, accusing him of robbing their idol.