In an unexpected turn of events, three members of Dscud Boxing stable have deserted the club and left their manager Thuso Khubamang, in the lurch.
The trio of Kutlwano Ogaketse, Tshephang Babui and Steven Bagwasi have been with the stable since last year. According to Khubamang, the boxers’ confusion started soon after the Fox Sports fights held in Swaziland earlier this year.
Though the boxers are registered under Khubamang at Professional Boxing Association Botswana (PBAB), they have since aligned themselves with Thebe Setlalekgosi who is currently training them and claims ownership of the athletes.
“The boxers have left me, but these things started when we returned from Swaziland. One of the boxers called and told me that they were enticed by huge amounts of money but I told them that they should remember that I have a running contract with them. But soon after that, when I called them (boxers) for training, they never showed up until now,” complained Khubamang.
According to Khubamang, the boxers have a four year contract with him which started running late in 2017 and is expected to elapse sometime in 2021. “The contract I entered into with them last year after the Grand Palm fight still stands. What’s surprising me is that the boys decided to desert me yet I’m the one who registered and paid for them at the professional boxing body,” he lamented. “I have however reported the issue with the PBAB and I have left everything with them.”
The issue is said to have escalated to the extent that one of the boxers, Bagwasi went on to compete in Eswatini on the weekend of the 2rd -3rd of June under the leadership of new coach, Setlalekgosi, despite a pointed and unambiguous warning from the PBAB to stop the boxer and his management from competing outside the country while they still have contractual issues to finalise. This publication even intercepted a mobile phone text from PBAB addressed to the boxers’ current management which cautioned the boxers from participating until the issue has been resolved.
“Don’t ever commit a mistake to weigh Botswana boxers without clearance, PBAB and the government had not permitted them to cross the border to Eswatini. The country’s requirements have to be fulfilled. You actually know the procedure here,” read the message.
Global Sport caught up with Thebe Setlalekgosi who claimed that the boxers belong to him. “The boys have long returned to me and we had a fight last weekend. I produced these boys from scratch and our relationship goes beyond boxing, I am a father figure to them. I know their lives and I know their problems outside boxing. I am a qualified coach so I know their needs as boxers and where they need to improve; maybe they did not get what they expected from where they are coming from,” said Setlalekgosi.
When asked if he is aware that the boxers have a running contract with Khubamang, Setlalekgosi dismissed the news of a contract. “I have never in my life seen a contract that is one sided without a release clause. Then again, the courts are open for such issues if at all someone is aggrieved here. I don’t and will never sign any contract with these boys or even get any money from them. These are just innocent kids who are very young and clueless after being promised heaven by people with wrong intentions,” he said.
Setlalekgosi also acknowledged taking boxer Bagwasi to Swaziland for a fight without the clearance and despite a warning from the professional body. “A mistake happened from my camp and we took the responsibility for that. We did manage to clear the issue before the fight with PBAB and we are meeting them this week for future proper dealings with them. It was a learning curve and such will never happen again.”
For his part, PBAB president, Tsietsi Kebualemang, acknowledged receiving a complaint from one of their affiliates. “That issue has been reported to us and we are still dealing with it internally but as soon as we done, we will inform you. But the law is straight forward; any manager or promoter who does not comply with our requirements or violate the rules is guilty and so is liable for a fine of P5,000 or suspension of two years from the professional boxing activities,” said Kebualemang.
This publication made an attempt to engage the boxers but they declined to comment, and instead referred this reporter to Setlalekgosi.