Namibia’s leading boxing promoter Nestor “Sunshine” Tobias has admitted that staging fights behind closed doors will financially and psychologically not be sustainable in the long run – both for the boxers and their stables.
In a brief conversation with New Era Sport, Tobias, who is set to host his first-ever boxing bonanza behind closed doors on 7 November due to government’s Covid-19 health and safety regulations, said although this time around they will manage to stage their first-ever event behind closed doors in an empty venue, it will not be viable in the long term.
Tobias said the sport of boxing is an already-hugely expensive business to run – and with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, it has become tough for fighters and promoters alike to stay afloat, and not getting any income from ticket sales has made the situation much worse.
“Of course, this system is not financially viable and preferable for promoters because we are losing out on the only available revenue we have, which is ticket sales but we have no choice. We have a business of boxing to run and whether we lose money or not, the show must go on because our boxers compete for world ratings internationally – and the more they remain inactive, the more they are negatively disadvantaged,” said the award-winning promoter.
On the psychological side of allowing boxers to fight in empty venues with no crowd to cheer them on, Tobias excruciatingly admitted it will not be easy on the boxers’ mental state and overall performance, saying, unfortunately, that is the new normal now.
“We don’t expect it to be easy for them because this will understandably be the first time they are doing it [closed-door fights]. We will, however, be creative so that we at least create some kind of atmosphere in the venue with sound effects, which will portray crowd noise – even though they know that nobody, except them and the referee, is in the venue at the time. That is also why we have not scheduled the normal number of rounds,” added Tobias.
This bonanza which will be headlined by some of the most prominent names in local boxing, such as Jeremiah Nakathila, Mikka Shonena, Mendu Kaangundue and Namibia’s fast-rising boxer Harry Simon Junior.
Also, in action on the day will be Michel Bernard, who will face Frans Naanda in a four-round lightweight duel. While Philipus ‘Energy’ Nghitumbwa will confront Nelle Costa in a four-round super bantamweight.
In the junior middleweight four-round, Charles Shinima will go toe-to-toe with Steven Shimbonde. Paulinus ‘John John’ Ndjolonimus will take on Joseph Nghihangwa in a middleweight eight-round match.