Boxers earning a measly N$1000 per fight

By Michael Uugwanga

PROFESSIONAL boxers in Namibia earn between N$1 000 and N$4 000 per fight despite the health risks that come with the sport such as cuts, bruises, broken teeth, dental problems, broken ribs, internal bleeding and damage to internal organs.

Confidente Sport has uncovered that boxers fighting for non-title bouts or for short rounds are mostly paid peanuts on any given fight night because the boxing regulatory body, the Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB) Act does not protect the wellbeing of boxers but only that of promoters.

Some professional boxers who opted to remain anonymous in fear of victimisation confirmed to Confidente Sport that at times they can even pocket a mere N$700 after a fight.

The amount to be paid to a boxer is determined by the number of rounds and the title the boxers are fighting for.

For example a boxer that fights for a four-round fight takes home between N$1000 and N$3 000, being the highest amount for a four-round fight.

For a national title fight a boxer pockets roughly between N$10 000 to N$12 000 for winning such a title.

Boxers fighting for African titles can cash in as much as N$50 000 to N$80 000 depending on the amount on the table.

In South Africa, a professional boxer fighting for four rounds usually pockets more than N$6 000, while a six round fight is more than N$10 000.

To make matters worse, most of the Namibian boxers are paid in cash after a fight, unlike in other countries where by boxers are paid electronically, a more secure route.

The minimum fight for a local boxer in Namibia is usually three fights, but some boxers only fight twice depending on the availability of funds or opponent.

“My brother, in Namibia we are only fighting to boost our records. There is no money in our boxing. Like me in my first fight I only got N$1 000 and I was fortunate to get N$3 000 for one fight after my opponent failed to show up.

“From the N$1 000 you get you will also have to deduct 30 percent (for manager etc) which means that you only go home with N$700. The national title should be at least N$15 000,” lamented one boxer.

Another boxer also said that despite knowing the dangers boxing comes with, he is fighting in order for him to one day become a top boxer not only in Africa but in the world.

“I fight for N$2 000 per fight because that is what I have in my contract. I give 10 percent from that amount to my trainers and coaches. Some of us are fighting just to improve our records. The aim is to fight for bigger titles and become the best.”

Another boxer also said that they even have to pay for their own medical expenses from the little earnings.

“I have to pay for my own medical expenses, as you know that at times after a fight you either have a cut or your ribs need serious medical attention. We are really suffering as boxers in this country,” he said.

Former chief administrator at NPBWCB, Joe Kaperu also confirmed to Confidente Sport that he was aware of the little amount boxers are being paid by their promoters but said that it was not the NPBWCB’s jurisdiction to intervene in an agreement between the promoters and the boxers.

“What happens in some cases, promoters only pay the boxer as part of their agreement. At times you will find a promoter having two contracts, one is made public and the other one is hidden.  Most boxers have a big problem to address the issue with their promoters. The board does not have a regulator in place to protect the boxers,” said Kaperu.

Interim chairperson of NPBWCB, Jason ‘Tuks’ Naule also confirmed the amount boxers get per night. “Boxing is like any other business. If you are a boxer that is only starting out you have no negotiation powers until you reach a certain level,” said Naule.