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Three weeks from now, more than 50 boxers from three different islands will step into the ring, all competing for top honors in the 18th L Garth Wright Golden Glove tournament.
The one night only event will be held Saturday, October 15 at the Wulff Road Boxing Square. This show will bring together boxers from the Inagua Amateur Boxing Club, Genesis Boxing Club, YMCA Boxing Club, Turks and Caicos Boxing Clubs and the host Champion Amateur Boxing Club. The event last year was held over a four- week course with more than 60 fights recorded.
Organizer Ray Minus expects the one night event to be very good with intense bouts in all the age division. He said: "This is an event that all the fighters look forward to. This time we are going to have one night of boxing, so the boxers will need to bring their best. We expect to have some good fights.
"Boxers will be coming in from Turks and Caicos, Inagua and Freeport. So we will be looking for a dynamic night. We are trying to do something special. We are having a punch-out championship. We have a champion already, Gilbert Cooper. He will be defending his title against a gentleman who goes by the name 'The Raging Bull' Carrol."
Some 20 bouts will be held at the tournament, which will be divided into two sessions, a morning and evening. Minus said the chances of boxers fighting in more than one bout is very great. He noted that the boxers are all prepared for a long day, and have been training very hard.
The list of professional boxers who have now organized with others, promotional organizations to handle their ring affairs continues to grow.
Roy Jones, Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather are some of the high profiled boxers who decided to find a way to chart their own destinies by having a major influence or total control over promotions they headlined.
Here in The Bahamas, Meacher Major has for several years considered that route. It appears that he is now ready to head in a new direction with promotions that involve him for the remainder of his professional career.
At present, Major is not happy over certain issues that emerged when he performed on the August 13 show promoted by Charlie Major Jr. He is caught up in the controversy over purses agreed to by Major Jr.
The boxer has in fact stated that he is now more determined to "go a new route with a promotional group I can have confidence in, that every time out, agreements will be met.
"I am just as eager as anybody else for boxing to go on in The Bahamas. Boxing has been my life. Most of what I have learned has been because of the opportunities I have had to travel the world and interact in other cultures with other people. That has given me a big advantage over boxers and other people who can only stay grounded here at home.
"So I definitely will always do my part to boost boxing. I am satisfied also, after being guided by the Bahamas Boxing Commission for years now, that our rights will be protected. I have spoken to associates and we plan to firm up our position and become officially affiliated as a promotional group with the Commission.
"We want to stage a show before the end of the year. There is a nice group of boxers available here. There are those who have not been boxing because they didn't like what was going on. They are still young and can be attracted back to the ring. The ones who stayed with it, our new group will work with them,' said the talented super featherweight boxer.
Meacher is actually the most popular boxer in the country today. He has a solid following and is an inspiration to scores of young boys and girls in the Kemp Road area. He has been coordinating a youth camp for several years now and is a quality role model.
The view here is that Meacher will make sure that there is a high level of decency associated with anything that he does. He and his group will indeed be a welcome addition to the promotional side of boxing.
It is unfortunate that he has come to crossroads with Promoter Charlie Major Jr. They once had a good working relationship with Meacher using the Nassau Stadium as a base of operation. Hopefully, they will resolve their issues and with the Commission and others, help to rid the pro boxing scene of all that is negative.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
It's been a month since the return of boxing to the historic Nassau Stadium and up until now, all appeared to be well. The sport was back at the 'Mecca of Boxing' here in The Bahamas, the local boxers were enthused to be fighting at home and the fans were ecstatic to witness competitive boxing again.
The Championship Amateur Boxing Club (CABC) is set to host the "Moving Forward" Amateur Boxing Show on Saturday, September 27, at the Wulff Road Boxing Square.
The club has been active lately and the "Moving Forward"boxing show will be the ninth event hosted by the club this year.
"We want to continue to develop talented boxers in the country. We believe in experience, and if a boxer has enough experience to know the ring, he has a chance to be successful. We have seen that over the past years with some of the veteran fighters that we have in the country, and so the Champion Boxing Club is proud that it has a program that is so committed," said Head Coach of CABC Ray Minus Jr.
"We want to thank the Ministry of Sports and all of our other sponsors for being there for us, and helping us host these events to build these young boxers up. The fighters are excited for this event for the chance to perform and show what they have learned in their training sessions."
Minus said he is proud of all of his fighters, but come Saturday, he will be particularly interested in the performances of Don Rolle and Lennox Boyce. Rolle is currently 15 years old and Boyce is 14.
"We are looking at these two boxers to soon represent the country in the 2020 Olympics. These guys are certainly on track and I believe that they will have an opportunity to be seen by the Bahamas Boxing Federation. I feel that they will stand out at every event and the thing is they still have so much time to grow and get better," said Minus.
"We want to encourage all of the clubs to come out and allow their boxers to have the opportunity to get some experience because the more of it you have, the better your chances will be when that big fight comes your way. We will continue to try and produce the best fighters that we can and we feel that we're doing a good job of that so far."
Following the "Moving Forward"showcase, CABC will host the 21st L. Garth Wright Sr. Golden Gloves Amateur Boxing Tournament on Saturday, October 11 at the Wulff Road Boxing Square.
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)
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 email@example.com)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 email@example.com.