By John Tuerijama
THERE might be no world title fight for Harry Simon this year, as was earlier announced. This follows the cancellation of his World Boxing Union (WBU) cruiserweight title fight against Tanzania’s Said Juma Mbelwa which was initially set for November 18 in Windhoek.
The former WBO middleweight champion has come out to profusely apologise to his Namibian fans for the cancellation of the bout which would have seen him take to the ring for the first time in three years.
Simon has been dogged by cancellations and postponement of fights, largely due to funding problems and in this instance the money bug seems to have bitten again.
“To be honest with you, it’s a very long story. Although I am currently hard at work with my training programme, I am saddened by the fact that the fight cannot take place,” said a dejected Simon.
“Before I say anything else, let me first of all apologise to my fans who were looking forward to the fight against Mbelwa. You know the mistake that we as boxing promoters do is to always inform the public that there will be such and such a fight without ensuring that there is capital needed to stage such fights,” he said.
To compound matters, the Tanzanian boxer has also secured another fight as he cannot keep on waiting for Simon to one day find money to put the fight together. “The guy needs to make a living and this fight has been on since September. That is why he decided to take another fight this month,” he said. Apart from being eager to get back into the ring, Simon is also registered as a boxing promoter under his Harry Omkugo Simon Boxing Promotions stable.
Simon said his camp has approached the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) for emergency assistance but were told that the sports regulator could not assist due to lack of funds.
The NSC’s acting chief administrator, Walter Haseb has confirmed that such a request was indeed received.
“Yes we were approached but unfortunately we don’t have funds. We don’t even have money to assist sport codes facing administration problems at this stage,” he said.
“For one to submit a request in the middle of the financial year is very difficult as the submission has to be forwarded to the line Ministry as per procedure,” he said.
However, despite the disappointing development on the cancellation of the November 18th showdown, Simon is optimistic that there is still hope for the WBU cruiserweight bout to take place before the end of the year.
He said he was approached by some businessmen who promised to look into the possibility of assisting him with funding to organise a fight before the end of the year.
Simon, who has an impressive record of 30 undefeated fights under his belt, said he will continue with his training religiously as he was promised a fight against a German, South African or Serbian opponent.
“I am confident that something positive I will secure a fight before the end of this year. I also call on interested persons and corporates to contact the Namibia Boxing and Wrestling Control Board if they wish to assist financially,” he said.
“As part of my training I will be organising amateur boxing events where I will be doing sparring rounds with three to five guys. I really want to do this in the whole of Erongo region to inspire the young lads see me as their hero,” said Simon.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015