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News Article

January 20, 2014
Promising Bahamian boxer shot listed in stable condition

One of the most productive amateur boxers in Bahamian history, is this morning laying up in a hospital bed after himself being a victim of crime over the weekend.
According to a police report, a young man standing in front of an apartment complex on Kemp Road, in the vicinity of three others, was shot multiple times around 2 a.m. on Saturday morning. It was later revealed that the young man in question was junior welterweight boxer Valentino Knowles, who was on the cusp of qualifying for the London Olympic Games one and a half years ago.
Knowles, 25, is one of the most talented boxers the country has ever produced. He turned professional a little over a year ago, after a stellar amateur career in which he was a multi Caribbean Amateur Boxing Association (CABA) medalist, won an Independence Cup bronze medal, a Commonwealth Games bronze, a Commonwealth Championships silver, a Pan American Games silver, and a Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games gold just to name a few.
Also, he is the first Bahamian to ever win a bout at the prestigious International Boxing Association (AIBA) World Championships. He accomplished that feat when he outscored Joseph Njogu from Kenya, 11-8, in 2009 to advance to the round of 32. Knowles failed to reach the field of 16 but had already made history for The Bahamas with his first round victory at the championships.
According to the police report, shortly before 2 a.m., three men and a woman were fired at when the occupants of a red Honda Fit vehicle pulled up alongside them. Knowles received multiple gunshot wounds and another reportedly received a gunshot wound to the leg. According to reports, Knowles is now listed in stable condition in hospital. The other male who was shot in the leg is reportedly listed in stable condition as well. The woman was not injured during the incident.
Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas (ABFB)
President Wellington Miller said that he got an opportunity to visit Knowles on Saturday, and the once promising professional who currently has a pro win/loss record of 2-0, remains in high spirits.
"From all indication, he is going to be okay," said Miller yesterday. Miller is also the president of the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC).
"This is a terrible thing what happened, but Valentino is in good spirits. He was happy to see us. We just told him to take the tablets to kill the pain and get some rest. Right now, it is unsure if he will ever box again. If that is the case, it would be a big loss for our boxing program but the most important thing right now, is for him to survive this ordeal and be okay. Valentino has represented The Bahamas very well for the past 10 years. He is one of the most decorated amateur boxers in Bahamian history. We wish him a speedy recovery."
Miller said that Knowles' leg is broken in three places, his jaw is fractured, and he was also shot in the chest. He was admitted to the emergency room but is apparently resting comfortably at this point. In 2011, leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games, Knowles was ranked as the number two junior welterweight amateur boxer in the Americas. That's inclusive of North and Central America, and the Caribbean region.
Police are requesting the public's assistance solving the shooting incident. Investigations are ongoing.

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News Article

February 17, 2012
Boxing seminar set for Saturday

This coming Saturday at Mario's Bowling and Family Entertainment Palace, the Bahamas Boxing Commission will stage a seminar that will focus on the medical and officiating aspects of the sport.
The seminar comes at a time when the professional boxing scene is showing signs of vibrancy. A boxing show which was organized by the Major Promotions and Entertainment group did not draw a huge crowd earlier this month (February 4), but the 200-plus spectators were treated to an exciting card and it is clear that the enthusiasm is at the very least, building again for professional boxing.
There is another new promotional group on the scene. Former Bahamian middleweight champion Elkaener Saunders heads a group that is pushing for a big return to the ring by Jermaine Mackey. The former Commonwealth Super Middleweight Champion, Mackey, is 18-5, but has not fought since 2009.
He was once considered world championship material. Many thought of him as the one with the best chance to follow Elisha Obed with the official claim of an authentic world title. However, he appeared to be badly misguided and his boxing world came crashing down. His pending return has added to the enthusiastic climate in professional boxing these days.
It is from this backdrop that the seminar being staged by the commission is most important. The time is right to acquaint all of the frontline folks in the local boxing fraternity with the medical and officiating regulations they need to be aware of. At the forefront of the seminar on Saturday will be chairmen of the Medical and Officiating Committees respectively, Commissioner Dr. Munir Rashad and Commissioner Fernley Palmer. Statistician Commissioner Paul Moxey is assisting Commissioner Palmer.
The presenters during the medical segment of the seminar will be Dr. Pat Roberts, Dr. Ricardo Davis and Dr. Rashad. Drs. Roberts and Davis are long-time supporters and assistants of professional and amateur boxing. Dr. Roberts will lead the discussion on anti-doping as it pertains to boxing and Dr. Davis is scheduled to pass on to the attendees, his insight on injuries in the ring.
Medical Committee Chairman Dr. Rashad will wrap up the segment with a concentration on the necessity of a medical certificate to clear a boxer to compete. The officiating segment will be coordinated by Commissioner Palmer and Commissioner Moxey. Amateur world certified official Alvin Sargeant will be invited to make a presentation as well. Their focus will be ring conduct, time lines of shows, judging, scoring, dressing room activity and the referee's authority.
It is an appropriate forum that the commission will be providing. The event will begin at 8 a.m.
To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at fredericksturrup@gmail.com.

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News Article

December 16, 2013
Bahamian boxing comes alive as Major gets back on win trail

It was great to see the former Minister of Sports Neville Wisdom in the house. There he was in the Rainforest Theatre at the Wyndham Resort this past Friday evening, soaking up the excitement of the finest boxing show in this decade.
There were quite a number of other sports enthusiasts who came in a modest initial flow that eventually swelled to a packed theater. The ultimate satisfaction came to the Bahamian supporters of the show when Meacher Major ended up with a decision victory at the end of six rousing rounds with the tough Brazilian Roger Rosa.
Promoter Tommy Stubbs deserves congratulations. His Buttons Formal Wear team jumped readily into a situation totally new to them and success was the result. Ronn Rodgers of the Strikers Boxing Club, and Ray Minus Jr., who heads Champion Amateur Boxing Club, both responsible for the coordination of the matches, came up big as well.
Despite some glitches and making the adjustment to the regulations put in place by the Bahamas Boxing Commission, the end result was one that ought to inspire Stubbs to continue on this new business path. He certainly seemed to have a good feeling about the show when it was all over.
He smiled when several spectators came up to him and asked for more shows. Without a doubt, his step into boxing was pivotal in giving the sport energy.
The collaboration of pro and amateur boxing is a winner. The crowd, by the response, obviously enjoyed the amateur action. In fact so solid was the entire card that when Dencil Major opted out of the competition and Alex Perez flopped against Mike Sawyer, the onlookers still left feeling that they had gotten their money's worth.
The amateur bout of the night was between American Fernando Caldron and Bahamian Kendric Stuart of the Strikers Boxing Club. Interestingly enough, although Stuart cleaned up on Caldron for the first two rounds, his propensity to mix it up when he could have just boxed and won in a breeze, proved to be his undoing. In the third round he was badly out of gas and absorbed blows that in the earlier rounds he was evading. That final round obviously swayed the judges and Caldron got the nod.
It was an encounter, however, with solid action throughout. In other amateur bouts, Jonathon Cox of Champion Amateur Boxing Club won against his club mate Don Rolle; Strikers Boxing Club's D'Angelo Swaby won by third round stoppage against Champion Club's Renardo McKenzie; Strikers Club's Israel Johnson defeated Tyson Isaacs of the Beast Mode Fight Team, and Kerone Knowles of Champion Boxing won over Strikers Club's Tyrone Oliver.
It was a big night for boxing.
Significant in the mix was announcer Ivan 'Showtime' Francis. Although new to the game, he was a rather nice dimension and could become a fixture on the scene.
Hopefully, the ring excitement will continue.

o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.

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News Article

July 14, 2012
Challenges for new boxing commission

The single-most important aspect that marked the previous two administrations of the Bahamas Boxing Commission was the extraordinary comradeship enjoyed by the members who made solid strides despite a struggling economy, not favorable to would-be promoters.
Under Dr. Norman Gay's chairmanship, the 2003-2007 administrators reconnected professional boxing in The Bahamas with the major world boxing authority bodies. Dr. Gay, who was one of the chief architects of the legislated rules and regulations that govern professional boxing, is known for his diplomatic style.
He fostered a close-knit climate and the members worked always as one to regain a positive image for professional boxing in the country.
In 2007, under a new central government, the position of chairman was filled by former outstanding light heavyweight boxer Pat Strachan. The smooth working relationship of the commission continued. During Strachan's tenure, the commission established the Boxing Hall of Fame and inducted five former stalwarts of the sport.
The first three inductees, in 2009, were Everette "Elisha Obed" Ferguson, William "Yama Bahama" Butler and Gomeo Brennan. In 2011, the commission inducted Bertram "Bert Perry" Perigord and Wilfred "Battling" Douglas.
I had the pleasure of serving as secretary under both administrations, and as president of the Commonwealth Boxing Council (2008-2010). The commission was also instrumental in networking with the council to place Bahamians as boxing contenders.
In that regard, Jermain Mackey was rated, got a shot at the Commonwealth Super Middleweight Crown and was successful. He held the title from 2007 to 2009. So indeed, while promoters had and still have difficulties getting enough funding to put on boxing shows, some significant inroads were made during the past two administrations of the commission.
Dr. Gay and Strachan deserve high praise for their leadership style.
The present administration, announced on Monday by the government, is thus challenged to forge new avenues of accomplishments. Under the new announced chairman, Alvin Sargeant, and this writer, who was named deputy chairman, the commission starts out on a high note.
Three weeks ago, Bahamian Heavyweight Champion Sherman 'Tank' Williams got a prestigious victory. He defeated Chauncy Welliver in Macau, China and ended up with three titles. He is now the China Zone, Asia Pacific and Macau Province champion.
Thus, he owns four titles, including that of The Bahamas.
A grand way to get going would be for the new commission to pay public tribute to Williams. My understanding is that the city of Vero Beach in Florida, where Williams and his wife Kimberley reside, has embraced him anew.
According to Kimberley, the Tank is due to be presented with the key to the city in a special ceremony later this month. So far, nothing of the kind has been announced locally.
Perhaps it might be left to the commission to take the initiative. It would be a gesture befitting the noted sports ambassador and a rather positive plank on which the administration under Sargeant can begin its business.
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.

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News Article

July 03, 2012
Tank gives Bahamian boxing major boost

Kimberley Williams called very soon after the match between her husband Sherman "Tank" Williams and Chauncy Welliver in Macau, China. She was trying to remain calm, but the excitement came through despite her efforts.
She was the provider of the best boxing news for The Bahamas since a November evening in 1975 when Elisha Obed won the World Boxing Council junior middleweight title.
Tank upset the odds and captured two very important titles (WBO China Zone and WBO Asia Pacific). All considered, the performance by Tank arguably ranks third in the history of boxing in The Bahamas. In my view Obed's 1975 effort in a Paris ring ranks first.
Then, I go all the way back to October of 1963 when Gomeo Brennan won the country its first international boxing crown. He defeated Briton Mickey Leahy to capture the British Empire (Commonwealth) middleweight crown. The fact that Tank is 39 and had to overcome many disappointments in the last few years, combined with being matched against an opponent who was a favorite in the China area, speaks volumes for him. Welliver is American-born but resides in New Zealand and fought in China twice before.
We live in a society of skeptics so there are bound to be those who will downplay the accomplishment of the Grand Bahamian, but Tank can be very content with having registered a noteworthy triumph. I expect for the victory over Welliver to vault Tank firmly in the World Boxing Organization's top 10 rating and possibly the World Boxing Council, the World Boxing Association, the International Boxing Federation and the International Boxing Organization.
It is at a time like this that boxers need good "lobby" representatives in their camps. The case could easily be made for the Tank being included in the top 10 rankings of the noted world boxing bodies as a result of his showing against Welliver. A good lobbyist would have no difficulty at all.
It was sad that he got absolutely no mileage after his stunning work over three rounds against former multiple world heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield in January of 2011. Tank and Kim struggled mightily to make some inroads but just did not have the clout.
Hopefully, this time, Tank will connect with someone who is capable of representing him to the fullest extent, to capitalize on the great 12-round display against Welliver. I have checked around. It was not a fluke victory. I've always lauded Tank's ability to manage his actions, offensive and defensive, well in the ring.
At an age when most boxers begin to lose their power, Tank has sustained and can be devastating with left hooks, overhand and straight rights. Holyfield found that out. He was lucky the referee stopped their bout after three rounds and declared a no-contest.
I believe Tank would have knocked him out that night.
Last Friday in China, Welliver discovered also what Tank is all about. He had no answers for Tank as he dipped, bobbed and weaved relentlessly and launched wicked hooks and power-packed rights.
At the end, one judge scored the fight 119-110 in favor of the Bahamian while another had it 115-112 and a third scored it 114-114, even. It is my understanding that the 119-110 scoring was the accurate one. Looming for him are the likes of the 6-8 Commonwealth Champion Tyson Fury and perhaps one of the Klitschko champions (brothers Vitali and Wladimir).
Congratulations Tank!
Great job!
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com).

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News Article

April 02, 2013
Coach Ray Minus Jr. calls out national boxing federation

During a recent conclave hosted by the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas (ABFB) a lot of concerns were expressed. There is a big problem in Grand Bahama. The amateur boxing leaders there are not on the same page at all and the sport is suffering as a result.
At the conclave, the promise to develop an officiating program for referees, judges and timekeepers came up once again. Will there be a follow-up this time around? The New Providence Amateur Boxing Association (NPABA) is clamoring for the parent body to be more proactive in providing an environment for more tournaments.
The amateur program lost its best boxer, Valentino Knowles, to the professional ranks. This is indeed a low point for the amateur program in the country. In steps Coach Ray Minus Jr. His club, Champion Boxing, is the most vibrant in the country. Quite frankly, the argument could be made that Minus Jr. has the "one" vibrant amateur boxing club in the nation. He is speaking out and pointing directly at the amateur boxing executive group, led by Wellington Miller.
"I don't think we should have a problem at all in amateur boxing. We have the boxers. We have the clubs. Everybody wants action. This is where the federation has to do its part. I would like to see the federation stage several tournaments per year. This is what should be done. We should have these national tournaments and the clubs would become more busy and the boxers would have other goals to go after. My club has tournaments and other clubs have shows, but it's another thing when you are competing in a national tournament, staged by the federation. It's something much bigger to go after," said Minus Jr.
He is completely correct, and puts his finger on the major problem within the national sports fraternity. With few exceptions, sports administrators are not carrying their weight. They want to strut around and take credit when the hard work of athletes and the sacrifices of coaches and parents bring high caliber results. Ask about national development programs though and you see very few. This speaks to the inefficiency of sports administrators in the country, generally.
Minus Jr. is on point. I don't normally agree with the way he functions, but he gets my full support this time. Obviously, Minus Jr. understands that the new sports culture in this country must be inclusive of sports administrators who have the capacity to stay on pace with our athletes. For years now, our athletes because of resilience and natural abilities have made Bahamians proud. Unfortunately these same athletes fall under the jurisdiction of poor administrators and accordingly the national sports program is not reaching its true potential.
In the case of amateur boxing, hopefully the executives of the organization will in the immediate future recognize the need to pull themselves up to the shoulder of their president, Miller, and propel the national program by planning and staging national tournaments.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com)

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News Article

December 08, 2011
New Group Enters Professional Boxing

A new boxing promotional group has come on stream officially.
Major Promotions and Entertainment (MPE) has met all of the upfront conditions for obtaining a sanction to stage a boxing show on February 4, at the Kendal Isaacs Gym.

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News Article

November 05, 2013
Commonwealth Boxing Council still important umbrella body

I am just back from the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Commonwealth Boxing Council (CBC) and can report that the organization is still very relevant. Indeed, the CBC remains on top of what's going on in the boxing world and is very appropriate for those member organizations under its umbrella in the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Bahamas became directly connected to the CBC way back in 1963. On October 22 of that year, a 24-year-old native of Bimini, Gomeo Brennan, captured the vacant Commonwealth (British Empire) middleweight title with a convincing decision over Mickey Leahy at the Empire Pool in Wembley, London. From that point onward, the Commonwealth boxing platform became the launching pad for most of the successes of Bahamians in the ring. Of course, our only authentic world champion, Elisha Obed, achieved the milestone under the World Boxing Council (WBC) brand.
However, after Brennan, there have been three other Commonwealth champions - Ray Minus Jr., Steve Larrimore and Jermaine Mackey. There have been two presidents of the CBC, Wilfred Coakley being the first and I, the second. So, The Bahamas continues to be bonded more with the CBC than any other international boxing body.
I've been a director of the CBC since 2004 and at the recent AGM, it had to be acknowledged that Bahamian pro boxing scene is at the lowest stage during this era. Sherman 'The Tank' Williams, the Bahamian heavyweight champion, has been inactive, although I understand he is to engage in one of those "contender" series soon. Former middleweight champion Elkaener Saunders has retired. Former Commonwealth super middleweight champ Mackey has been inactive as well and has not won a fight for a long time.
Bahamian super featherweight champion Meacher Major has also been inactive and was dropped out of the CBC contender group, having lost his last two bouts. Still prominent are just Bahamian light heavyweight champion Ryan McKenzie and Edner Cherry, the Bahamian who is least connected with the country. Taureano Johnson, the middleweight, and Valentino Knowles, the novice pro, are trying to unravel some personal contract issues I have been informed. McKenzie (14-0) is legitimately one of the leading up-and-coming fighters in the world.
Cherry is still cemented as a contender in the CBC and was placed among the super featherweights since his last fight was in that division. He left the country after his first 11 years of life and has fought his entire career from a Florida base. Johnson is rated because of his (14-0) record although his career seems to be in limbo at this time. Williams was dropped. Knowles is just starting to make his way as a pro. Some of my CBC colleagues genuinely lament the status of professional boxing in The Bahamas and have offered advice that will be passed on to fellow members in the Bahamas Boxing Commission (BBC).
It is good to have a support body like the CBC. The interest that the CBC takes in member commissions and boards is the area that sets it apart from the other international organizations. In other cases, the focus is primarily on champions, contenders and purses and not much concern is on development. The CBC, on the other hand, is always interested in the national boxing programs of its Commonwealth countries.
The CBC is that big brother entity of Bahamian boxing. Those of us who are responsible for the national program are thus obligated to justify the association with the CBC.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com)

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News Article

April 23, 2012
European boxing gains momentum

The roots of modern boxing are planted in Europe, particularly the United Kingdom. The heavyweight division was the spark that ignited the popularity of boxing. During the 1800s UK-born boxers such as Joe Coburn, Mike McCoole, Tom Allen, Joe Goss and Paddy Ryan were the rage.
They later made room for the likes of Americans John L. Sullivan and 'Gentleman' Jim Corbett. The European imprint was lasting however. In later generations, the United States boxing scene and that of Latin America became prominent. Now, the pendulum is swinging back towards Europe. Today, Floyd Mayweather of the United States and Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines are the sports two most noted competitors. However, the Europeans have made significant inroads. In fact some might say that area has taken over for the most part.
Certainly more of the biggest payday fights are being made in Europe. In the heavyweight division, the Klitschko brothers of Ukraine, Vitali and Wladimir, own all of the recognized significant titles. Wladimir heads the International Boxing Organization (IBO), the World Boxing Organization (WBO), the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and the World Boxing Association (WBA).
Older brother Vitali is the World Boxing Council (WBC) Champ. After the Klitschkos, the top 10 heavyweight boxers are predominantly European. There's Russian Alexander Povetkin, Robert Helenius of Finland, Tomasz Adamek of Poland, Alexander Dimitrenko of the Ukraine, Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria, and former champion Ruslan Chagaev of Russia. Anthony Thompson, Chris Arreola and Eddie Chambers, all of the United States, are the only others at the top of the heavyweight list.
In other weight divisions, the European influence is not necessarily as strong, but solid nevertheless. There is a view in some local pro boxing circles that perhaps emphasis should be placed on connecting with the European scene as opposed to the big U.S. concentration. It's a good thought.
Jermain Mackey as the Commonwealth super middleweight champion was on his way to further stardom using that forum, until decisions that are regarded as simply terrible, derailed his career. Bahamian lightweight Edner Cherry and super featherweight Meacher Major have both indicated an interest in getting into the Commonwealth picture.
Then, there is Sherman 'Tank' Williams. He had several opportunities to engage in Commonwealth fights against European opponents. Williams was sought after by UK promoters during the latter part of the last decade but nothing materialized. The European scene would have done much better for him than his U.S. base. That's my view. Williams is now 39. He'll be 40 in September. He hasn't fought since January of 2011, over a year. The boxing business can be brutally frustrating.
I encourage Major and Cherry as they are confronted with their final years of prime boxing, to look to Europe to fulfill their careers.

To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com

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News Article

September 08, 2011
Boxers ranked among world's best

When the world rankings for amateur boxers were released and president of the local governing body in the country, Wellington Miller received an official copy of the listing, he was not surprised to see the names of Valentino Knowles and Carl Hield among the names of the top boxers in the world.
Knowles and Hield are considered to be the two top amateur boxers in The Bahamas. Both have been the flag bearers at numerous championships and games and their exceptional performances at these events earned them places in the rankings.
"This is a great day for us in the sport of boxing," said Miller. "They are going over there (to the World Boxing Championships) with a high ranking. And when you check through the list, and you see the number of boxers from big countries who they are ahead of, it says a lot for our program. We are right up there with the world, and we appreciate what they are doing. We always ran and had good programs. Before them we had (boxers like) Taureano (Johnson) now it's their turn."
The rankings, which were released less than two weeks before the start of the World Boxing Championships, are calculated based on competition over the past two years. Knowles, who competes in the 64 kg is ranked 25th in the world and fourth in the Caribbean. He has scored 450 points in the last two years.
Fellow countryman Hield is 37th in his weight class (69 kg) in the world.

A 5th place in the Caribbean.
Top boxer in the 64 kg is Cuba's Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo.
He has 2,000 points having won the 2009 World Championships and the 2010 AMBC title, last year. Imre Balazs Bacskai of Hungary leads the 69 kg division with 890 points. Bacskai placed 10 at the 2009 AIBA World Championships and won the EUBC Championships in 2010, but finished 12 in 2011. All two of the divisional leaders will compete at the World Boxing Championships, where they will be challenged by Knowles and Hield.
Miller added: "These championships are also an elimination for the Olympic Games. We are hoping that they can qualify there and come back home with a medal. We know that they are going to make The Bahamas and themselves proud.
"These ratings go all over the world, so they are helping to promote The Bahamas. So it is good for us and it is good for The Bahamas. We are once again benefiting from these boxers."
Knowles and Hield will leave for training camp on Friday. This year's camp will be held for 10 days, right before the start of the championships.

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