Simon slams MTC, govtBy: HELGE SCHUTZ
HARRY Simon has criticised MTC and the Namibian government for only supporting the Nestor Sunshine Boxing Academy, saying that he, too, could produce world champions with the necessary support.
Simon was addressing a press conference called by promoter Kinda Nangolo to announce his next fight, which will be against Jozsef Nagy of Hungary for the IBF International Light Heavyweight title in Swakopmund on May 25.
“I still have a lot in me but unfortunately some sponsors are one-sided. They keep saying they are helping the whole nation but that’s not true, because they are only helping one stable. We are all Namibians and we are all buying airtime. I’m talking about MTC and the government as well,” he said.
“We have other promoters like myself, like Kinda and Smokey Promotions, but why are they not being helped? I know what it takes to be a world champion because I’ve been there and I can produce some more champions, but these boxers need help,” he said.
“I do respect the government because they gave me a diplomatic passport when I became a world champion, but that was all,” he added.
MTC spokesperson Tim Ekandjo said Simon’s outburst was surprising, unprofessional and had little merit. He said the current beneficiaries of MTC’s backing had earned it.
“Our sponsorship benefits great men who are members of the youth and that have a great passion for boxing. The MTC Nestor Sunshine Boxing Academy’s excellent track record speaks for itself and for Harry to challenge this track record is beyond me,” Ekandjo told The Namibian Sport.
Ekandjo added that his company had previously contemplated assisting Simon but deemed him to be a risky investment.
“Harry has been our first world champion and we will always honour and respect him for that, but the fact is we haven’t seen him boxing competitively for the last 10 years and my advice to him therefore as a fellow Namibian is to go out there and show the nation that he can still compete to inspire public and corporate confidence,” said Ekandjo.
“Nobody will open their pockets to invest millions for a once off fight if they are not even sure that he can compete.
“MTC was approached by Harry Simon on several occasions and his demands are totally unreasonable, at one point he tabled a budget of N$10 million for one fight in the States to go and fight a retired boxer for a title that is not even recognised which is totally ridiculous.
“I am surprised that Harry is blasting MTC and the government because we have on several occasions tried to assist Harry to get him in the ring but he keeps on tip toeing which raises serious questions about whether he is a good product to invest in and we will frankly not waste our money and neither will our government.”
Simon, a former WBO light middleweight and middleweight champion, is still undefeated after 27 fights.
Simon said he was sure that he would beat Nagy, who is a former World Boxing Foundation cruiserweight champion and has a professional record of 43 fights, 29 wins with 14 defeats.
“I have seen Nagy fight but he won’t be a problem for me. I might have some problems against fighters like Bernard Hopkins or Carl Froch but they won’t beat me, I’m at a different level,” he said.
He promised his fans a great show.
“A lot of people are judging me and saying that Harry can’t make it anymore, but I will give my fans a great show. I’d love to remain unbeaten till I retire,” he said.
Other fighters who will appear on the undercard include Chris Ukelo, Albinus Felesianu and Gottlieb Ndokosho, who will defend his IBF Intercontinental Africa featherweight title against Prosper Ankrah of Ghana.
Meanwhile, promoter Kinda Nangolo announced another boxing tournament to be held in Windhoek on March 29.
The tournament, which is scheduled to take place at the Windhoek Country Club, will see Albinus Felesianu fighting for the IBF World Youth title against Herbert Quartey of Ghana in the main fight.
Quartey has a professional record of 10 wins and eight defeats, while Felesianu has a record of 15 wins and two defeats. Felesianu said he was ready to win the title.
“I am ready for the fight and I call on my fans to come and support me. I’ve waited a long time to fight for the title and I’d like to thank Kinda for giving me this chance,” he said.
Kinda called on sponsors to come on board to endorse the fights.