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Minister of Grand Bahama Michael Darville recently expressed a desire to work with the national boxing program to the fullest, particularly regarding the sport in his island.
It was at an introductory meeting with the New Providence-based government-appointed body that the minister offered the assistance of his office. The outlook is special for Freeman Thurston, who heads a mixed martial arts program.
He is also the president of the Grand Bahama Amateur Boxing Association and is seeking a way to connect the programs, with guidance. The Bahamas Boxing Commission has heard his cry. Chairman
Alvin Sargent and company pledged to assist Thurston within the guidelines set out for the Commission by the Boxing Act.
In the act, the commission has no authority over mixed martial arts. The request of Thurston could end up being quite revolutionary. With no actual government-designated body to fall under, professional mixed martial arts is sort of in a limbo situation in the country.
Thurston with his overture could very well be laying the foundation for legislators to have a new look at the Boxing Act and make the effort to include mixed martial arts in the portfolio of the commission. MMA encompasses regular boxing as well as other contact art forms.
The approach of Thurston is refreshing and could give him another dimension to utilize as he tries to push the amateur boxing program in Grand Bahama. I see the gesture of Minister Darville as one of sincerity. His ministry and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture might just inspire a resurgence of contact sports in Grand Bahama - professional and amateur boxing, as well as mixed martial arts.
I congratulate Minister Darville and his associates in the Ministry of Grand Bahama, Undersecretary Cecil Thompson, Protocol Chief Dashwell Williams and others. Over at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Deputy Director of Sports for the Northern Region Gladstone 'Moon' McPhee is also very much on board.
He has offered to be the point person to network with the Ministry of Grand Bahama and the boxing/mixed martial arts fraternities on behalf of the commission.
High on the agenda is a proposed big boxing show featuring Sherman 'Tank' Williams, a Grand Bahama native. It would be simply wonderful, if the agents of Williams, representatives of the Ministry of Grand Bahama, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture can get together with the boxing commission to sort out a strategy towards a 'big show' headlining the Bahamian heavyweight champion.
Champ Williams is nearing the end of an excellent career and a couple of shows in Grand Bahama would be quite in order.
The commission plans to do all that is possible under its authority to provide the appropriate environment for Williams to close out his career in grand fashion.
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com)
The 16th Pan American Games going on in Guadalajara, Mexico, will forever be the competition that truly defined the amateur career of Valentino Knowles and to a large extent, the legacy of the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas (ABFB).
For the first time in the history of Bahamian sports, the boxing team has been able to upstage the other disciplines. His bronze medal clinching victory on Sunday against Argentina's Fabian Maidana put The Bahamas on the medal table for the first time. Then, on Tuesday, when he clearly was the better boxer against Yoelvis Hernandez of Venezuela, the performance meant at least a silver medal for his country.
He is capable of beating Cuban Roniel Iglesias tomorrow night, but whether he gets the majority of points or not, Knowles has fully established himself as one of the nation's "prime" elite athletes.
Also, he has made an emphatic case for the ABFB. It is ridiculous, when one considers that the national boxing program has had to settle often for no more than one-third of the funding given to other federations called "core sports" programs. When Taureano Johnson won a silver medal in the light welterweight division at the 2003 Commonwealth Boxing Championships, the federation was promised an elevation into the "core sports" category.
That never came to pass. During the ensuing eight years, Johnson grew into a full welterweight and went on to become the finest boxer in the entire Caribbean. Knowles and welterweight Carl Hield developed into prominent world performers. Knowles became a Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games gold medalist. He and Heild emerged as quality competitors on the rough Cuban boxing circuit. Hield got further into the middle of the regional success circle with a silver medal at the prestigious Dominican Republic Independencia Tournament.
Knowles made history by becoming the first Bahamian to win a bout at the World Boxing Championships (back in 2009). They both won bronze medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Knowles has followed directly in the footsteps of Johnson. He is now the best amateur boxer in all of the Caribbean and as of this moment, one of the two best light welterweights in the entire Pan American region.
Yet, the ABFB still has not been given official status by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. Hopefully now, this travesty will cease. Knowles deserves to be at least in the $26,000 subvention category, and the federation earned "core sports" status in 2003. It is noteworthy indeed that the federation has been able to remain progressive despite being on the very low end of government sports grants.
On Friday, Knowles will be in the spotlight at the Pan American Games one more time. He definitely has what it takes to beat the Cuban. Iglesias has a strong left hand. Knowles is the better boxer and punches well with both hands. If I worked his corner I would simply tell him to make sure to circle away from Iglesias' left hand and just let his instincts take over.
Knowles is naturally gifted. He has all of the tools. He is superb defensively as well. He should win on Friday. Whatever the case though, he has finally demonstrated the ability to maximize his potential. Best wishes on Friday Valentino!
Congratulations also to the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas!
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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).
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Businessman Tommy Stubbs is entering the boxing fraternity with a bang. A sports aficionado, Stubbs has a solid background in softball and baseball but has always been passionate about sports in general.
He has been drawn to boxing by one of the finest young gentlemen in the country. I refer to current super Bahamian featherweight champion Meacher Major, a friend of Stubbs and a model at times during the Button Formal Wear events. Stubbs is the general manager of Buttons.
"I really decided to get into boxing because I want to assist Meacher in this part of his career. You know I am a sports person and whatever I go at I try to give it my best shot. The same will apply here," said Stubbs.
He is to be congratulated for his own courage. It takes a strong and determined-minded businessman to get into the promotion of boxing at this time, when the economy is still at rock bottom for many sponsors who previously partnered with events.
"I think out of the box," said Stubbs in an interview when he first expressed an interest to do the show, which is scheduled Friday, December 13 for the Rainforest Theatre of the Crystal Palace Casino.
"I believe it can work out nicely, if the attractions are there. There has to be something different. I will bring new dimensions. I will give the boxing public something other than the usual," added Stubbs.
In truth, he does plan to come with something kind of special.
Promoter Stubbs has announced that negotiations are going on with associates outside of the country to arrange for two foreign female boxers to be on the show. This will be an excellent addition and should compliment the overall show tremendously.
Major will clash with Brazilian Roger Rosa (5-4-1-1)) in the main event, a scheduled 6-rounder. Rosa, like Major is trying to rebound from two consecutive defeats. Major (20-6-1-1) is the more experienced, but the Brazilian
boxers have a long-time reputation for resilience and toughness.
The pro segment of the show will include a match between American Mike Sawyer and Cuban Alex Perez and Dencil Miller clashing with Lester Brown. The proposed female encounter will close out the professional part of the show. Three amateur matches are scheduled and the night should be quite entertaining for patrons.
As a prelude to the event, Stubbs has scheduled a press conference for Mario's Bowling and Entertainment palace, this coming Friday, November 22 to showcase Rosa. He is to fly in for the contract signing, another element that will spice up the entire affair.
The press conference is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Mario's and the excitement is building already.
From the outset, with Stubbs as a part of the mix, boxing has received a boost.
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.