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Presidents Column  |  February 2022   
POSTED ON FEBRUARY 21, 2022.
BY: WBF PRESIDENT HOWARD GOLDBERG.
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COLUMN   Photo: World Boxing Federation (WBF) President Howard Goldberg.
 
 

I have to chuckle a bit when people say the job of the President of the World Boxing Federation is always without stress.

Allow me to take you into a journey of an example of a tournament which I was supposed to supervise a few weeks ago.

The agreement between the promoter based in Africa (not South Africa) and the WBF was reasonably standard.

Sanction fees to be paid in advance, and officials fees to be paid prior to the commencement of the weigh in, as well as air tickets provided one week in advance, and the hotel where the WBF officials would be staying to be made known. Visas were going to be organized at the embassy in Pretoria.

It was a new promoter and as usual we tried to assist him as far as possible. Everything was looking great - sanction fee and belt fee was paid in advance and we were advised of the excellent hotel where we would be based.

The only issue seemed to be the air tickets. After about 50 phone calls, we were advised that our air tickets would be confirmed the day before actual departure. Certainly not ideal and certainly stressful.

At around midnight I received our air tickets, but strangely enough they were from Johannesburg to the country and not from Cape Town. The promoter had a very good person trying to facilitate everything and this person called me to say that he would send the air ticket from Cape Town early the next morning.

At around noon (3 hours before I was supposed to fly out of Cape Town) I received my air ticket which was a one way ticket from Cape Town to Johannesburg. More stress!

Upon contacting him, I was advised that I would get my return ticket from Johannesburg to Cape Town upon arriving in Johannesburg. More often than not I would have canceled the fight but this being a new promoter I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt.

I arrived in Johannesburg and met the other WBF officials (they lived in Joburg). We hurriedly rushed to international departures where we met some of the fighters due to fly out with us. Upon checking in we were told that the air tickets from Johannesburg to the country in question had not been paid for.

Heightened stress! After another 25 phone calls it was evident that we would not be flying and I took an executive decision there and then to cancel our title fight.

It was now around 9pm. I was still in Johannesburg airport with no return air ticket to Cape Town. I went to the various airlines and there were no further flights to Cape Town that evening. I tried to book a ticket on line for the next day but to no avail - flights completely full being the festive season.

This resulted in having to stay two nights in Joburg at my own expense as well as purchasing an air ticket back to Cape Town.

I usually play golf on a Friday morning with one or two boxing promoters and arrived at the course to join them to their amazement. They thought I would be in central Africa. I think the stress over what happened affected my swing and I deservedly got thumped on the golf course to the delight of the boxing promoters.

In three weeks time, we go back to this country hopefully with everything organized properly and professionally.

Stress? All part of the game!

 

Until next time, keep punching.

Howard Goldberg

PRESIDENT: World Boxing Federation

 

 
 
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