Dar es Salaam. Azam Media Limited has announced that it will no longer sponsor professional boxing promoter Jay Msangi, who is the Chief Executive of the Hall of Fame Boxing and Promotions Company Llc for what it described as “material breach.”
Msangi was arrested in 2013 for the alleged violation of his contract with American boxer Phill Williams who fought Tanzanian boxer Francis Cheka in the World Boxing Federation (WBF) Super Middleweight bout.
Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police officers arrested Msangi following claims by Williams that the promoter had not paid him $8,000 (approximately Sh12m at the time) as stipulated in the contract between the two parties. According to a letter from Azam Media, the firm has decided to blacklist Msangi in all activities involving him after he violated yet another agreement, including cancelling the main card event between Tanzania’s Mfaume Mfaume and Filipino boxer Arnel Tinampay. The fight was to take place at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam on August 28, this year.
“You are liable for breach of contract over the cancellation of the highly-anticipated August 28 World Boxing Championship match between Tanzanian Mfaume Mfaume and Arnel Tinampay of The Philippines, which was the main card for the IBA Inter-Continental Super Welterweight title.
“We paid you in advance – and, immediately upon receiving 75 percent of the fee, you sent us a cancellation notice of the main card. This is contrary to the scope of our agreement, since we only agreed to a fee of $18,000 to be a broadcasting partner on a deal which we understood would have covered the match between Mfaume and Tinampay, considering the revenue that we might have generated from that fight and not otherwise,” the Azam Media letter reads in part.
Pursuant to Clause VII (IV) of the Partnership and Broadcast Agreement, the letter says, “in case the promoter violates any of the terms agreed upon, or misbehaves in any way, his name will be blacklisted by Azam Media suppliers and the balance will not be paid.
“As the lead agent, you were also in-charge of setting and paying for everything involved in the boxing match, and making sure that all the requirements were met in every step along the way. However, on the day of the event, you delayed to pay for the venue and the boxers to the extent that the venue owners closed the gates and the boxers threatened not to participate in the show because of unsettled bills,” the letter says.
The Uhuru Stadium manager, Gordon Nsajigwa, admitted that they did not allow Msangi to use the venue due to lack of payment.
Nsajigwa said their procedure is to be paid up-front, before an event can take place. But Msangi paid for the venue rather late, just hours before the fight was slated to begin. For his part, Msangi refuted the claim that he violated the agreement, saying he had notified Azam Media about the changes of the schedule.
“I was not aware that the money had been deposited into my account when I wrote the notice letter to Azam Media Limited, informing the company of the changes which were caused by coronavirus-related lockdowns in The Philippines. However, the firm (Azam Media) did not respond to that – and I proceeded with the fight. This is to say that they had agreed to the changes.
“What I know is that one employee of Azam Media Limited wanted me to give him some of the money with which they had sponsored me. This is the reason why they have taken the decision of blacklisting me,” said Msangi. Commenting on the matter, the Tanzania Professional Boxing Regulatory Commission (TPBRC) said they are aware of the saga, and have already met with Msangi and other promoters to discuss the matter. TPBRC Vice chairman Aga Peter Mnazareth said Msangi has been ordered to submit a copy of the contract to the Commission for verification.
“We are struggling to find sponsors to promote boxing in Tanzania, and we are not particularly happy with what is going on between Msangi and Azam Media, who have been doing a tremendous job to promote the game. We are not ready to lose them (Azam Media),” Mnazareth said.
The acting secretary general of the National Sports Council (NSC), Neema Msitha, urged promoters to maintain and increase their sponsorships for the development of sports and required the prudent use of donated funds to pay referees and boxers well and on time.