No assistance for Simon

18 Sep 2015 11:00am


Harry Simon's fight for the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) and World Boxing Union (WBU) light heavyweight world titles has been postponed indefinitely because of a lack of funds.

Harry Simon's promoter, Anita Tjombe confirmed this at a media briefing in the capital on Thursday. Simon was supposed to fight Ugandan boxer, Joseph 'Joe Vegas' Lubega, who is also known as 'The Flower of Uganda' in Windhoek on 26 September.

Tjombe said they needed N.dollars 3.4 million to make the fight a reality but had to reduce this amount to N.dollars 1.5 million due to a lack of funds. She further informed Nampa in a telephonic interview that should they manage to get N.dollars 600 000, Simon will be fighting in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Chances are however very slim that the former world champion will receive financial assistance from both Government and the private sector. According to Tjombe none of the institutions she approached thus far gave her a positive answer or any other kind of hope.

"I am disappointed by the government's refusal to financially assist Simon in this regard, while they assist other professional boxers," she said.

She said Simon put Namibia on the world's boxing map and deserves to be assisted. She also rejected the opinion that the 43-year-old Simon's age could be a contributing factor to the refusal.

In reference to the accident in which the former boxer was involved, she feels that it would be unfair to drag Simon's past into his future.

"He paid for the crime he committed and he even served a jail sentence," the worried promoter said.

In 2002 Simon was involved in a serious car crash between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. He was found guilty of culpable homicide, sentenced to jail in 2007 and released in 2009. Simon lost his title and was unable to defend it due to accident injuries.

According to Tjombe, she approached the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service for funding but her request was turned down. Other institutions she approached are Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC) and the Namibian Port Authority (Namport).

Justice Kavari, a sports officer in the Ministry of Sport said the ministerial policy does not allow for assistance to professional boxers. He however could not say why some local boxers are assisted by the same ministry.

Another source, who spoke to this news agency on condition of anonymity, said it is the right of any institution to not be willing to assist someone based on the financial muscle of such an institution and other financial responsibilities.

The source said MTC, for instance, is already sponsoring the Nestor Sunshine Boxing and Fitness Academy and sponsoring Simon would mean it would have too much on its plate.