Boxing: Sports Council shows faith in future of ABA: Brighter picture for amateur body as Bruno waits for title date in Wales

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The Independent Online
THE Amateur Boxing Association secured a financial lifeline yesterday when the Sports Council restored its annual grant of pounds 108,000.

The future of the ABA was threatened last year when the Council withdrew funding, insisting that the organisation needed to change the way it managed its affairs. In February, the Council stopped paying the grant because of growing concern over the financial and administrative stability of the ABA.

The Council claimed that the ABA had failed to try to reduce expenditure, or increase income sufficiently. However, yesterday, Derek Casey, the Council's director of national services, said: 'A six-man emergency committee has since been set up by the ABA and major changes and re-structuring, which we think are absolutely essential for the future of amateur boxing, are now being made. On that basis the Council has concluded that it is reasonable to start paying the grant again.

'However, we will continue to monitor the association very closely and hold regular meetings with ABA officers. Grant aid, which will now be paid monthly rather than quarterly, will be subject to continuing demonstration of sound financial management.'

Frank Bruno - a former ABA heavyweight champion - can look forward to challenging his fellow Briton, Lennox Lewis, for the World Boxing Council title in Wales in September.

Mickey Duff, Bruno's promoter, hopes to finalise contractual arrangements for the fight later this month with Lewis's American promoter, Dan Duva. Yesterday the champion's manager, Frank Maloney, said: 'It's been confirmed that Lewis's next fight will be against Bruno. It will be on 25 September and the likely place is Cardiff.'

If successful against Bruno, Lewis may make a third defence of his title against America's Tommy Morrison in Las Vegas in February. Maloney and Duva are presently having talks with Morrison's promoter, Bob Arum, and his manager, Bill Cayton, about the new World Boxing Organisation champion appearing on the Cardiff bill - which would attract major income from American television companies.