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Tuesday of this week, November 13, marked the 37th anniversary of the one true world boxing championship won by a Bahamian. On a night in Paris, France back in 1975, Elisha Obed stopped Miguel de Oliveira to capture the World Boxing Council's version of the junior middleweight title.
That achievement remains the centerpiece of the many ring accomplishments of Bahamian fighters. Presently, the once feared Obed is not doing well physically. He last participated in a functional capacity in a boxing environment back in 2008 when the Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organization sponsored his trip to Jamaica to be a special guest at the first Caribbean Sports Icons Awards.
Obed even then was obviously operating at a much slower pace than during his prime years, but he was still fully aware of the scene and interacted easily with other boxing legends and luminaries of the sport.
Today, he has slowed considerably more, but the rich legacy of the sport he loved dearly continues.
The rather nice history of this small Caribbean nation in professional boxing goes on through the valiant efforts of heavyweight Sherman Williams, light welterweight Edner Cherry and super featherweight Meacher Major. They are the most active of current Bahamian professional boxers.
Still adding prominence to the boxing scene however are former greats Gomeo Brennan, Wilfred Battling Douglas and Leonard 'Boston Blackie' Miller. The chief commonality for them is a topic that comes up when I chat with each of them.
Gomeo Brennan defeated both Douglas and Miller.
Brennan is 73, Douglas is in his early 80s and Miller is some years older than the listed 71. He is probably closer to Douglas than Brennan.
The question of Miller's age adds to the country's boxing lore.
Brennan resides comfortably in Miami and maintains constant contact. He has expressed a willingness to be included in the development process of the sport. The same is the case with Douglas who has made Grand Bahama his home for about 40 years now.
Miller has set the standard for giving back to the sport. Miller more than any other top boxer has remained a fixture in the development process. As a result, in the near future, he will be given the high honor of having the new boxing facility in Flamingo Gardens named in his honor. The details for the occasion will be disclosed very soon by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the Bahamas Boxing Commission. It will be real neat for Brennan and Douglas to be among the invited guests.
Their presence will be ample proof of the continuance of the excellent legacy of the sport in this country.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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Bahamas Boxing Commission (BBC) will begin a detailed registration of all members of the professional boxing fraternity in the country in short order, at the Flamingo Gardens office...
The passing of World Boxing Council (WBC) President Jose Sulaiman Chagnon brings to a close a very interesting and often controversial era in professional boxing. The Mexican-born boxing czar who died Thursday, January 16, developed into the most colorful boxing administrator in the history of the sport, and he was associated with highs and lows.
There was the relationship with promoter Don King that was considered by many as not a healthy connection. There was the large number of decisions made regarding rankings and statuses of boxers that seemed conflicting. One particular status adjustment led to a major suit against the WBC, causing the organization about $30 million.
Sulaiman was thought of mostly as an autocratic leader. His power appeared for most of his tenure, from 1975 to his death, to be absolute. I recall a WBC Congress I attended as the second vice president of the Caribbean Boxing Federation (CABOFE). Everything went according to the wishes of President Sulaiman. He was gracious. As the chairman, he allowed opposition to come from the floor, but it was more a case of him humoring those individuals. In the end, there would almost always be a motion that favored the position enunciated by Sulaiman.
Despite that side of the late WBC chief, I found him accommodating and kind. He recognized the need to embrace boxing organizations from around the world and their representatives were treated in kind. There was the part of Sulaiman also, that made him stand head and shoulders above his fellow international boxing leaders. He was innovative and the landmark decision he brought about in the WBC, for championship bouts to be reduced to 12 rounds from 15, will long be heralded as one of the great changes in the sport.
The WBC led the way in 1983 and the world followed. Sulaiman was concerned that 15 exhausting rounds with boxers pummeling each other, resulted in punishment that could be avoided. He concluded that three less rounds would prolong the careers of many champions and contenders.
Health-conscious sports personnel and medical doctors rallied around the new championship order. It was indeed a landmark ruling and no matter the aforementioned issues that threw him into a negative light, history will no doubt judge Sulaiman favorably because really, in my view, he had a kind heart.
In more recent times, he was passionate about the transformation of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA). The body that controls world amateur boxing has now crossed over officially into the professional territory. Sulaiman was bitterly against the expansion of AIBA and expressed his view openly.
He raised "Cain" with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for its support and acceptance of the AIBA in the new role. It was a fight left unfinished. Sulaiman didn't get to go the distance this time. Now, someone else will have to carry on that battle. The boxing patriarch is gone.
May his soul forever rest in peace!
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
There is an interesting scenario that confronts the world boxing fraternity. The International Amateur Boxing Association (or Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur - AIBA) has expanded into the professional category...
Novice boxing promoter Tommy Stubbs has a full awareness of the rather nice spectator participation at the Friday, December 13 boxing show in the Rainforest Theatre. It was his first boxing promotion, but he is a promoter of note. Verification of his capacity as a promoter, are the many wedding shows he has produced over the last two decades. So indeed, at least for one promotion, his journey down another road has potential. The challenges Stubbs and his associates encountered were no doubt because of the initial entrance into a new arena.
Once he is prepared to recognize the jurisdiction of the Bahamas Boxing Commission (BBC) and act accordingly, his marriage into the boxing fraternity could be blessed with quality shows going forward. Already, on the heels of Meacher Major's successful outing against Brazilian Roger Rosa on the Stubbs' card, serious talks are going on about other promotions. Of great interest is the prospect of a prime middleweight bout. Taureano Johnson, the former outstanding amateur who has been the lone Bahamian campaigning in the professional ranks as a middleweight, is pivotal in the mix.
Then, there is former super middleweight champion Jermain Mackey, along with junior middleweight Jerome Ellis. A bout between any of the aforementioned three would no doubt be quite exciting. The new ratings of the commission are soon to come out and inclusive will likely be designated champions. It is possible that the official middleweight championship of The Bahamas might be up for grabs.
Major, actually, the Bahamian super featherweight champion, is flexible to entering the ring in that classification or as a lightweight or even a junior welterweight as per his last fight. He is preparing for a series of bouts. His focus is another Commonwealth Boxing Council (CBC) elimination match in one weight category or the other.
"I got a chance once and it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. I suffered a hand injury and did not finish the fight. I had a difficulty with my left hand during the last fight but I pulled it together and finished the contest well. I want to fight another elimination match because my big focus now is a Commonwealth title," said Major in a recent interview.
His enthusiasm plus the other elements, create a scenario that bodes well for pro boxing in the immediate future. Perhaps 2014 will be the year that pro boxing rebounds in a big way. There is also the possibility that Edner Cherry, the Haitian-Bahamian, who has been fighting out of Florida for the last 10 years, will return to his birth country to be formerly introduced as an elite pro boxer.
Indeed there is optimism for pro boxing in the country.
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.