US promoter threatens legal action against Boika
Gilbert Munetsi Boxing Correspondent
Former World Boxing Organization (WBO) African champion BRENDON “Boika” Denes is embroiled in a controversy over his contractual obligations following his decision to defy a deal he signed with a US-based company .
The former champion has a valid five-year contract with Lionheart Boxing Productions, an integrated sports promotion and entertainment company that has its main office in Kinnelon, New Jersey.
After falling out with his former stable – Manyuchi Boxing Academy – when their contract expired last year, Denes opted not to renew.
It was then signed by Lionheart through their chief financial officer, Edward Mendy (tax lawyer), for a term of five years. However, the Zvishavane-based boxer decided to take part in a fight in India on May 27 this year without the consent of his masters, a development that was not welcomed by Americans.
He fought Roman Zakirov, an Azerbaijani boxer signed by an Indian manager, in an eight-round contest at Battle Grounds in New Delhi.
Denes lost on points, putting a blow to his once-clean record which was 9-0-0 prior to this game. He traveled with his former boss, Charles Manyuchi, who was his cornerman.
Still without Lionheart’s blessing, he is now scheduled to compete in another fight in Russia on June 15 against an opponent identified as Vitaly Petryakov.
This publication is in possession of a plan document that had already been drawn up for Denes for 2022 that Lionheart would send $500 USD towards the boxer’s upkeep for the month of May.
He was assigned to do a tune-up fight on May 21 on the KK Promotions card in Namibia (which he skipped), after which he would travel to Oklahoma, USA for a 3,000 match. $US at Sugar Creek Casino.
This, according to plans, would be followed by another assignment at Sam’s Town Casino in Las Vegas on September 3, on which the Zimbabwean pugilist would pocket $5,000.
Unquestionably, Las Vegas is considered the ‘Mecca’ of world boxing and has remained every boxer’s dream to have destiny take them there at some point in their career.
“I advised Brendon against the fight against India but he took it without my permission. Practically, it was short term and he needed more time to prepare.
“I also warned him that they would steal the fight from him unless he knocked him out. He didn’t want to listen. I hate that I was right.
“From experience, I had offered him a slower and safer route to the top but, alas, he thought he was invincible and decided to chase after the quick money.
“And now he has his record tainted. I hasten to say that contrary to his claims, the jury’s decision in favor of his opponent had nothing to do with racism. It’s the reality of boxing that promoters’ fighters are favored at home.
“If he thought India was bad, Russia is even worse. The only way he can win there is if he knocks the guy out.
“It’s really sad that Boika has no one to blame but himself,” lamented Mendy’, who says he’s seen the same story many times before.
He claimed his associates and built him world record knockouts for Tyrone Brunson, but the boxer later filed for bankruptcy to get out of contract. Other examples, he said, were Troy Browning (21-0) and Antonio Mesquita (33-0).
Mendy contacted the Zimbabwe National Boxing and Wrestling Control Board this week, asking why they sanctioned India and Russia fights for ‘Boika’ when they knew full well he had been signed to them.
“I am aggrieved that the Zimbabwe National Boxing and Wrestling Control Board approved Brendon’s fight in India and it led to his first loss.
“I understand that he is also planning to fight in Russia and wishes to file a complaint… Complaint against Brendon, Manyuchi, the event promoter and the matchmaker (if the board can exercise jurisdiction over them).
“You weren’t supposed to approve the fight without my consent because you know full well that the boxer has signed a promotional contract under Lionheart.
“You are warned that if you do the fight without my permission, you are interfering with my contract and I reserve all rights I have under the law,” Mendy wrote to Lawrence Zimbudzana, the ZNBWCB’s chief executive, on Thursday. .
Contacted for comment, Zimbudzana admitted ignorance about whether a contract existed between Denes and Lionheart, telling the Herald: “The contract he claims he signed with Brendon Denes was not favorable to us, so we are not aware of the official position with regards the relationship between the two.
“According to Zimbabwean regulations, if a boxer signs a contract, there is a time limit during which he must file it with the board, at most two weeks after signing if there are no problems justifying a delay. . After that, this is when the agreement becomes valid.
“I don’t know how their contract can then apply in Zimbabwe, because its validity should start when they lodged a case with us, which unfortunately did not happen in this particular case.
“We just heard in the halls that the two parties have a contractual agreement, but we weren’t favored and aren’t officially made aware of it.”
Lionheart argued that unlike boxer-manager commitments, promoter contracts are never filed with a boxing control committee.
Zimbudzana said his commission was also unaware of the Denes-Manyuchi alliance as they did not have in their possession a written document to cement it.
Describing their trip to India together as “a gentleman’s arrangement”, he hinted that optional arrangements could be made outside the provisions of the law and people could work with that.
“So we can’t prohibit anyone from working with people of their choosing,” he said.
Denes’ response was brief when contacted for comment.
“Let’s not talk about Russia, boss. Dzimwe nzendo ngatetaure tadzoka (Some missions are best discussed when we are back).