PROFESSIONAL boxing bouts conducted in the country are henceforth deemed to be illegal and police will be directed to prosecute people or organisations taking part or promoting such events.
Minister for Community Development and Sports Dame Carol Kidu issued this warning in the wake of the tragic death of boxer Joel Hayeu on June 21 in Port Moresby, and subsequent calls on the Government to have a controlling body for pro boxing in place.
Dame Carol yesterday called a media briefing in Port Moresby to update them on the launch of investigations into the death of Hayeu.
She, however, refrained from disclosing initial findings on the inquest into the technical and medical aspects of the tragic fight, saying the matter was still under probe by PNG Sports Foundation.
Their findings and recommendations would be tabled by late October, coinciding with the formation of new professional boxing control board, as directed by the minister.
With the country’s two sole professional boxing organisations – the PNG Professional Boxing Ltd and the PNG Professional Boxing Federation, having monthly shows in Port Moresby, this announcement has effectively put on hold all bouts until such time as the regulating body is up and running.
Professional boxing advocate Bernard Fong said both groups had no choice but to accept the minister’s edict on the current state of professional boxing in the country.
He said it was in the best interests of the sport.
“All we can do is follow the directions of the minister and do the right thing.
“We support and abide by this decision for the future of pro boxing,” Fong said.
He also confirmed all planned bouts by the PNG Professional Boxing Limited would be put off including the Sept 19 bouts in Port Moresby, which was supposed to run as part of the Independence week celebrations.
Dame Carol had directed the PNG Sports Foundation in July to look at the possibility of the reinstatement of a body to control and monitor pro boxing in the country.
And the minister wants it to be up and running by Oct 30.
Public notices had been taken out in the mainstream media for appropriately qualified personnel to apply for positions on the board with the deadline set as the end of October.
The PNG Amateur Boxing Union have welcomed the clampdown on pro boxing in PNG with president Lohial Nuau and his senior executive advocating discrepancies and unprofessional approaches to safety and medical issues surrounding pro boxing.