MBA says it cannot licence Corito to fight in event hosting boxer on drugs suspension

Malta Boxing Association says Billy Corito wants to fight in event that also includes another boxer under four-year suspension term imposed by the National Anti Doping Agency

Billy Corito (left) seeing off Matt Ellis in his UK debut back in February 2016
Billy Corito (left) seeing off Matt Ellis in his UK debut back in February 2016

The Malta Boxing Association has refused claims by boxer Billy ‘the hitman’ Corito that it had unlicensed him after sending a WhatsApp message to the athlete saying it would not sponsor an upcoming fight.

The MBA said that Corito wanted to take part in a fight event that will also include a boxer who is currently under a four-year suspension term imposed by the National Anti Doping Agency, for breaching the World Anti Doping Agency’s (WADA) anti-doping regulations. “The boxer was suspended from taking part in any sports for four years in 2016. He is also suspended by SportMalta and is also on the suspension list of the EBU. The MBA cannot be involved in any way with such an event.”

Corito’s agent Stephen Green yesterday claimed that MBA president Michael Bonello had given Corito the news through a simple WhatsApp message.

According to the WhatsApp message sent to the press by Green, Bonello was said to have told Corito: “Hi Billy, I know you are boxing. As you know you will be losing your MBA license. I am sorry I will not back you up this time”. Billy Corito’s response was a simple “OK thanks”.

But the MBA said it could not sponsor Corito for a fight that was not sanctioned by the MBA. “Bonello did not revoke his license by means of a WhatsApp message, but he was merely informing him of the consequences if he takes part in this [unlicensed] event… there was no decision being conveyed by WhatsApp by the MBA President, but a simple advice as to what will be the outcome since such a breach of rules carries an automatic suspension of the license.”

The MBA said any such decision will be taken by its executive council once the events takes place, as it would do with any boxer.

Corito has said he had contacted the Malta Boxing Commission (MBC) and the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) to license him. Corito was previously licensed by the MBC for a number of years, but was last year forced by the MBA to forgo his MBC license so that the association could license him to fight on an event sanctioned by themselves.

MBA rules state that no boxer can participate in events not sanctioned by the MBA, under pain of automatic suspension of the license. European Boxing Union rules do not allow either boxer or other boxing official, licensed by any of its affiliated members, to participate in events not recognized by the EBU. Only the MBA can license events under the EBU or World Boxing Council (WBC) umbrella.

The MBA also said its license does not limit Corito to fight just in Malta, but in any EBU or WBC title.

“The fact that Corito is a well-known boxer, and as he is claiming to be, the ‘face of  Maltese boxing’, does not put him above the MBA and does not give him any right to breach the rules. This is not a case of politics but simply a case were the rules are being breached. These rules have been there for many years and no boxer, famous as much as he claims to be, can breach them without facing the consequences,” MBA general secretary Frank Borg said.