A WIGAN boxer’s principles have put his career on the line.
For pro Suz Member has turned down a six-figure sponsorship offer from an alcohol company and now finds himself short of cash for training.
The Atherton firefighter was approached by an unnamed company to endorse its beverage and a highly lucrative deal was on the table.
But because of his Muslim faith and his role as an African boxing board’s Goodwill Ambassador to the UK promoting social responsibility, he refused it.
Suz is licensed to fight by the Tanzania Professional Boxing Commission and will raise money on their behalf to benefit the country’s youth development programme.
He was approached to become one of Tanzania’s official representatives after being recognised for the charity work he did in 2012 in neighbouring country, Zambia, where he donated his entire fight purse to a local school to cover the costs of the children’s exams. But now he is concerned that he may be forced to make some tough decisions unless new sponsors or donations come forward, after the welterweight rejected the deal.
Although the 39-year-old admits that he could have done a lot with an investment of that size, he believes that he would have been seen as a hypocrite if he had taken the offer because of his tee-total religious beliefs.
He said: “A lot people thought I was crazy to turn down such a lucrative offer but it was a no-brainer for me. I didn’t want to encourage under-age drinking.
“Although the money could have secured my own boxing future for a long time, it wouldn’t have been right for me to take it, considering my religious beliefs and the mentoring work I do.
“These are the deals that some sportsmen wait a long time for, and can launch their career. But what would that say about me, personally, if one minute I was mentoring young people on the importance of clean living, and the next I took a deal like this?
“Of course I was pleased that a company of their stature saw the potential in me, but I’ve recently became an ambassador for Tanzanian boxing, and I’m just looking ahead to that and my next fight now.
“I wouldn’t say that my career is in jeopardy because of it, but unless new sponsors come forward or we receive donations from businesses to help cover my expenses soon, there may come a point down the line where some serious choices may have to be made.”
If anyone would like to sponsor Suz or are interested in him promoting a product, contact his sponsorship manager, firstname.lastname@example.org or go online www.suzmember.com/@SuzMember