Professional boxer Suz Member fears for his future after he turned down a six-figure sponsorship deal from an alcohol company ‘as to not encourage underage drinking’, which has subsequently left him too short on funds to cover his training costs.
The talented fighter is tipped to earn a title-shot in the coming months. However, part of his fan base is below 18 years-old.
Outside of the ring Preston-born Member represents Atherton Fire Station as a firefighter, and has also been privileged enough to have the opportunity to be a part of various mentoring programmes across the UK, many of which aimed at offering young people – inside and outside of sport – pathways into work.
Member is licensed to fight by the Tanzania Professional Boxing Commission and, has recently been appointed by the African board’s President as their ‘Goodwill Ambassador to the UK’. He will raise money on their behalf to benefit the country’s youth development programme.
Member 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.
Despite ambitions both inside and out of the ring he is concerned that he may be forced to make some tough decisions unless new sponsors or donations come forward.
Although Member admits that he could have done a lot with investment of that size, he believes that he would have been seen as a hypocrite if he had taken the offer because of his religious beliefs as a Muslim.
Member said: ‘A lot people thought I was crazy to turn down such a lucrative offer but it was a no-brainer for me.
‘Although the money could’ve 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 you are interested in the boxers story and would like to help him, sponsor or interested in him promoting your product, contact his Sponsorship Manager, Jack Preston: firstname.lastname@example.org or go online http://www.suzmember.com/.