It’s official. BoxingAfrica.com caught up with undefeated featherweight Sakaria Lukas of Namibia following today’s announcement of his shocking split from Nestor Tobias’ MTC Sunshine stable.
Lukas, 21-0 (14 KOs), entered into an exclusive promotional agreement with MTC Nestor “Sunshine” Tobias Boxing and Fitness Acadamy in February 2018. Part of their agreement was to stage bouts where Lukas would perform under the auspices of the International Boxing Organization (IBO), with the hopes of eventually fighting for their world title.
To this end, the 34-year-old Lukas, along with manager Knowledge Ipinge of Knowledge Boxing Management, tentatively agreed to face undefeated IBO contender Jhack Tepora that same month. But when Tobias was either unable or unwilling to finalize the deal, the team began poking around.
Lukas hasn’t fought since September 2017. His counsel reached out to IBO president Ed Levine who, in an email dated June 19, wrote:
- The promoter Nestor Tobias is not up to date with his sanctioning fees due to the IBO.
- The promoter cannot promote or organize IBO fights as he has been suspended by the IBO since June 11th, 2016 for nonpayment of sanctioning fees
[NOTE: BoxingAfrica.com obtained copies of this correspondence and can confirm it’s veracity]
As such, Lukas’ team informed Tobias that the promotional agreement is voidable due to “fraudulently misrepresenting” his ability to stage IBO bouts for said client.
So where does Lukas go from here? Check out what he and manager Knowledge Ipinge had to say in this exclusive one-on-one with BoxingAfrica.com.
As far as you know, is Mr. Tobias fighting these claims and your voiding the contract? Any legal action?
Lukas: I’m not sure and it isn’t relevant to me in any way.
Ipinge: As far as we are aware, Nestor fraudulently misrepresented himself as being in a position to organize and/or promoting IBO sanctioned fights and it reflected as such in the contract we signed with him in February 2018. Due to the above, the contract became voidable at my election upon confirmation from the IBO president that Nestor has been suspended since 2016 due to sanctioning fees he owes the IBO which you can verify on the documentation in your possession. It’s important to also take note that I reserve the rights to seek damages as per instructions of our lawyers Henry Shimutwikeni & Co. Inc.
What made you aware that something was off?
Lukas: Nestor refused to share with us a promotional plan to confirm whether it is in line with my career’s strategic vision and otherwise did not respond to my team regarding important business dealings concerning my career. Multiple recommendations, requests and concerns related to my career have been shared with Nestor and he deliberately opted not to comply for reasons only known to him.
What do you have to say about what transpired and, specifically, about Tobias?
Lukas: It very sad to me that Nestor wanted to be my controlling master and would stand in my way the way he did and not respect my wish that my manager be informed of every single detail or be part of important discussions related to my career.
I highly appreciate the value that the MTC Nestor Sunshine Tobias stable has added to my career throughout the years despite the rocky journey we had and I wish them the best for the future. This is not personal but purely business in the best interest of my athletic brand.
How has this hampered your career — did you miss out on any fights?
Lukas: I haven’t fought the entire year simply because Nestor bluntly refused to organize a title defense for me or the fights I was earmarking and rather attempted to sell my career short by offering me a non-title fight in Australia in March with less than 3 weeks of preparation time which in my view never made sense. Recently, he was talking about a possible fight in Russia for me but failed to present us with a contract for consideration despite multiple follow ups.
Jhack Tepora’s team tentatively agreed to fight with me of which my manager shared the details with Nestor to make a formal purse offer as per request of the representatives of Omega Gym but nothing came from it nor did we receive any constructive feedback to date and Jhack is now currently scheduled to fight for the vacant International Boxing Organisation (IBO) featherweight belt on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao vs Lucas Matthysse WBA welterweight championship match on July 15 in Kuala Lumpur.
Luckily, all this never affected my training because in partnership with my manager, trainer Imms Moses and former unified light-welterweight world champion Julius Indongo we invested in a state of the art gym ( the AC Boxing and Fitness Gym) earlier this year, which provides an environment free of ego and filled with empowerment through sports education.
What is your status with the IBO now?
Lukas: Hopefully, if Jhack Tepora wins the IBO title on the 15th of July, we’ll consider reopening negotiations with his team for a possible fight.
And your promotional status? Are you in the market for one?
Lukas: I’m currently a Promotional Free Agent and my manager strongly encouraged and advised me to sign single bout agreements with any promoter that we’ll consider working with in the near future for each fight and no more long-term promotional contracts unless under favorable terms benefitting my strategic vision long term.
What is the short-term plan?
Lukas: My next move is to step back into the ring hopefully before end of September and my manager has opened talks with a couple of promoters.
Ipinge: At Knowledge Boxing Management, our chief goal is to provide the highest level of professional support and services to my clients like Sakaria Lukas, that’s why we always prioritize to follow proper procedures with our sole objective of always doing what is in the best interests of Sakaria Lukas.
Gone are the days that Namibian boxers were largely at the mercy of a few powerful promoters who had undue control over them and the boxers frequently lacked even basic control over their careers.
I’m a firm believer that promoters are service providers for boxers and not their controlling masters.
Check back with BoxingAfrica.com for further updates on Lukas.