Title fighter quits over “peanuts” for prize money

Linda Ximba

A fight over prize money could knock out a South African boxing title fight in Durban this week.

Challenger Ayanda Mthembu has turned down R30,000 for his fight against South African middleweight champion Nkululeko “Bulldog” Mhlongo.

Sources told Scrolla.Africa that some people in the Mthembu camp feel what Starline Promotions boss Zandile Malinga offered him was “peanuts” compared to what his opponent will take home. This is said to be R100,000.

They argue that Mthembu is being ripped off, as Malinga allegedly agreed to increase Mhlongo’s appearance money from R80,000.

“The Mthembu camp is divided on the matter. Some say he must take the fight because usually challengers earn less than R30,000. Some say agreeing to what he was offered would be viewed as selling him out cheaply,” said the source.

Mthembu confirmed the R30,000 purse money offered to him was the reason for his pulling out.

“I’m not scared of the champion. I’ve been waiting for this chance for two years but I won’t accept peanuts,” Mthembu told Scrolla.Africa.

“Another thing is the promoter only notified me last week which means I have two weeks to prepare for what is the fight of my life. In boxing you can’t accept a big fight when time is against you.”

The champion last fought in Namibia in December, while Mthembu was last in action in 2019. Ring rustiness could affect Mthembu as he comes up against an opponent fresh from a win.

Promoter Malinga said: “It’s true that Mthembu is not happy with what we offered. The latest developments could derail the tournament plans but we hope we will sort out the money or we may be forced to find a replacement.”

Image source: @SowetanLIVE