Local boxing promoters have joined forces to persuade the government to consider accommodating supporters on boxing return.
Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 gave its consent for sports return but did not allow supporters to grace sporting events. The first non-title bout to mark the return of sport will take place on November 1 at M1 Centre Point in Lilongwe where Salimu Chazama and Alexander Likande will square up in an eight-round bout.
Some promoters including officials from Superior Boxing Promotions, Ngwenyama Boxing Promotions, Keba Boxing Promotions and Malawi Professional Boxing Control Board (MPBCB) engaged the Ministry of Sports to consider allowing fans on boxing return.
A source said promoters were worried as they rely on gate charges to recover their investment.
“It is sad that other activities including entertainment and political gatherings continue happening and are attended by a lot of people. It is now time to allow sports to return with fans. This is why we asked the government to soften its stance,” said the source.
Keba Boxing Promotions Director Keba Inusa said they were hoping the government will allow supporters to watch fights.
“Besides gate collections, we don’t have any source of revenue. Our counterparts in other countries do have different partners and generate income through various means including advertising and TV broadcasting rights. So we hope the government will have mercy on us,” he said.
Inusa, who has organised Chazama and Likande’s contest, said spectators will pay K3,000 for a regular ticket with K5,000 costing for a VIP ticket. MPBCB president Lonzoe ‘Defector’ Zimba said promoters concerns were genuine.
“This is why we have asked the promoters to put in place Covid-19 protocols to protect boxers and other stakeholders including fans. We want all boxers to be tested and fans should wash hands before checking into the venue. Temperature should be measured as well. Let us understand that our promoters inject a lot, so it is important for them to break even or get a profit,” he said.
Ministry of Sports Spokesperson Simon Mbvundula said Malawi National Council of Sports has been tasked to handle such issues to ensure protocols are being followed.