Mdantsane veteran boxer Ali Funeka has once again left Canada shaking his head in disbelief, after he was allegedly robbed of victory when he fought Samuel Vargas.
Funeka returned to the country which rendered the most disgraceful decision against him in 2009, when his clear win over Juan Guzman of the Dominican Republic was declared a draw.
The draw robbed Funeka of the IBF world lightweight title, which has eluded him since.
The outcome was described as unacceptable by several international boxing publications, forcing the IBF to order an immediate rematch.
Funeka lost the rematch, held in the US, by a split decision, when Guzman came in grossly overweight for the fight.
Now eight years later, Funeka seems to have suffered yet another diabolical decision in Canada, when he was declared the loser to Canada-based Colombian Vargas in a fight for the WBA North American Boxing Association (NABA) welterweight title. The fight was held at the Powerade Centre in Brampton, Ontario yesterday morning (SA time).
According to Funeka’s co-promoter, Sibongile Matiti, who accompanied the boxer, Funeka easily won the fight. “But we could sense that he was going to be robbed especially when the referee of the fight allowed Vargas to headbutt him and did not dock him a point,” she said from Canada.
Adding some semblance of truth to Matiti’s claims was the reaction of the crowd following the majority decision against Funeka.
“The outcome was booed by the crowd, and some people came to our dressing room to tell Ali that he clearly won the fight,” she said.
Funeka, now 39 years old, was fighting for the first time since losing to Australian Jeff Horn via a knockout in New Zealand last December.
Although there were calls for him to retire after that loss, he has since gained solace from the fact that Horn went on to dethrone Manny Pacquiao to win the WBO world crown afterwards.
Funeka’s promoter, Ayanda Matiti, said he was shocked when he got the news that his veteran charge was robbed.
“I have asked for the video footage of the fight, and we will take it from there,” he said.
“But it seems that Funeka actually came to the party and proved that he still has plenty of fight left in his body.”
Matiti was one of Funeka’s critics when he lost to Horn. He even hinted that the veteran fighter should consider calling it a day.
But after the latest incident, Funeka, who maintains a clean lifestyle, may continue to chase a world title shot, even at this advanced stage of his career.
Sibongile had no doubt that Funeka atoned himself very well in Canada.
“He fought right out of the textbook, pumping his jab, which stopped Vargas dead in his tracks and prevented him from coming in.”
Had Funeka been given the decision against Vargas he would have been vaulted into the WBA title mix.
Funeka is expected to arrive back home at 11.30am today.
The loss was his seventh in 49 bouts, with three draws.