New sanctioning body for local professional boxers
The country’s proffesional boxing looks set to be regulated by a new sanctioning body following the dissolution of the Local Controlling Board (LCB), subsequent to the transformation of its mother body, the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC).
The new proffesional boxing sanctioning body is called the Botswana Boxing Organisation(BBO). It comes into the picture after the dissolution of the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) which has been the national sporting mother body for the past 50 years and under which the Local Controlling Board (LCB) existed.
The new dispensation was meant to pave way for a new and progressive Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) which is said to be the national lynchpin of professionalisation of sports in the country.
The LCB was formed by the now defunct two sports agencies in the Botswana sports structure through the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) – the Department of Sports and Recreation as well as the Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA). The LCB was responsible for sanctioning the country’s four proffesional boxing fights thus far, all of them promoted by a single promoter; Bond Ngubula of Bond Promotions.
LCB first sanctioned a local proffesional boxing contest in October of 2013, sanctioning the second 2 fights in March and May 2014 respectively and sanctioned its fourth and last fight in March 2015 before going defunct.
The new sanctioning board is expected to approve Bond Promotion’s six fights on the 6th of October.
In an interview with Weekendsport, the interim sanctioning body spokesperson, Tsietsi Kebualemang said the promulgation of the BBO is indicative of the expansion of local sports into the realm of proffesionalism.
He likened the envisioned BBO to international sanctioning bodies including the IBF and the WBO. BBO will be responsible for the collection of tickets sales, sale of television rights, ruling in disciplinary hearings, and arbitrating in disputes between boxers and their camps.
The sanctioning board must also licence boxers, referees, and judges approving the bout; and ensuring that boxers are not mismatched with superior boxers.
Kebualemang said after the finalisation of the BBO, the new sanctioning body will then seek to be affiliated into the new Botswana National Sports Commission and then at the Commonwealth Boxing Council, which is the international sanctioning body encompassing international sanctioning bodies such as IBF and WBO.
The BBO is also looking set to dovetail with the revolutionised Botswana National Sports Commision’s aims of fast tracking sports professonalism in the country and ramping up athlete participation in international competitions.
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AFRICA’S RECOVERY: Sports as game changer
The year 2022 witnessed unprecedented phenomena. Several Africans- Gotytom Gebreslase, Sharon Lokedi, Victor Kiplangat, Tamarit Tola and many others- swept the World’s marathons records.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting control measures implemented in several countries, led to many high-level sports competitions being cancelled or shelved, the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games was moved to 2026.
Founder and Executive Chairman, African Sports and Creative Institute, Will Mabiakop, says the inability to hold traditional and amateur sports events have had a serious effect on public health overall, including mental health, sparking a revolution whereby athletes began to talk more openly about stress, mental overload and performance anxiety.
“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies before the crisis, no longer on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). COVID-19 deepened interdependence between SDGs, making them harder to achieve, especially SDG 10 (reducing inequality) and SDG 5 (gender equality_ as the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on poorer countries, and heavier burdens (such as care work) fell to women.”
Mabiakop stresses that as policymakers contemplate actions to speed up recovery and build resilience, they must argue that sports and creative businesses should play a central feature in this effort.
“The sports economy worldwide is estimated at 5% of GDP, but only 0.5% in Africa. If exploited, Africa’s sports and creative industries can offer policymakers innovative solutions. Especially, as regards job creation, and providing employment to the 15 million people entering the job market annually.”
HOW CAN THE INDUSTRY DO THIS?
By leveraging the two-for-one concept: past studies shown that a 1% growth in the economy delivers a 2% job increment in this sector (these ratios are calculated using data from 48 African countries and adjusted to the reality of the sports economy in Africa by the authors). There are between 30 and 50 job types, in sports and creative industries, respectively. These jobs do not fade away with the first major shock.
Mabiakop indicated that policymakers can use these industries to tackle multiple crises- jobs, poverty, and climate risks. Sports diplomacy- defined as communication, representation and negotiation in or through the prism of sports- has proven effective in building inclusive and cohesive societies. Moreover, sports and the creative industry can support better mental health and well-being, both important for productivity.
“Policymakers can also be true to the game by leveraging culture and tradition to celebrate identity and reap commercial value in sports, textiles and jewelry. Creative sectors allow deeper connection with culture, are not easily copied and provide great economic potential.”
He said supporting grassroots sports has powerful distributional effects. “Fortunately, technology has made reaching wide audiences easier, generating higher rates of success when talent is discovered.”
However, Mabiakop held that potential pitfalls must be highlighted. “First avoid build it and they will come policies with infrastructures denuded from the rest of the ecosystem. Like the many sports stadiums left largely unused.”
“Policymakers must remain mindful of how these sectors move the needle in human capital development. Also, align the requisite public policies needed for progress from grassroots participation to professional sports, and even to international sporting events. They should also support investment instruments to render these sectors performant.”