Boxing’s way forward-Part I
Two Saturdays ago, February 26, the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas(ABFB)staged the second official conclave in the 42-year-old history of the organization. The first was held in 1969. That parley helped to form the embryonic body that came out of an idea the then current Bahamas Heavyweight Champion, Bert Perry, had.
This forum of present boxing leaders and participants was inspiring and I believe, will nicely shape the future of the sport. The event was quite impacting for boxing. The gathering bridged the gap between 1969 and 2011 very well.
It was very good to see such significant boxing figures under one roof, together. That had not happened in a very long time. For instance, joining me this time around, were other attendees at that first conclave, Perry of course, Leonard’Boston Blackie’Miller, Wellington’Sonny Boy’Rahming and Nat Knowles.
Ray Minus Sr. and Cassius Moss who engaged in one of the great boxing rivalries of a past era, were there.’Dynamite’Fritz wanted to be a part of the experience. He was there, so was Rodney Heastie, a key boxing figure for some 60 years.
All the ingredients for a vibrant program were put into the mix by Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas President Wellington Miller.
Represented and joining hands with the ABFB were the Bahamas Boxing Commission and the Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organization(PACBO), which has its head office in The Bahamas. From the north to the south, the conclave connected the nation.
Winston Deleveaux represented Inagua. Terry Goldsmith, Gary Davis, Arthur Missick and Nathan Davis flew in from the Northern Bahamas. New Providence clubs had a strong presence in’Boston Blackie’Miller, Ray Minus Jr., Meacher Major, Taureano Johnson and Andre Seymour.
ABFB President Miller chaired the affair and expressed a deep feeling of gratitude to his boxing partners who came out in the interest of pushing the sport to new heights. ABFB Secretary George Turner was dynamic in his presentation of the history of an organization that began as the Amateur Boxing Association of The Bahamas and evolved to a federation.
Dr. Francis Saunders, a vice president of the ABFB, was on point as he went over a series of medical areas that must be adhered to in the interest of boxers and the sport. He engaged in an enlightening dialogue with the audience. The participants obviously thirsted for more knowledge about the sport of their passion.
Sargeant, a first-rate international official, made a presentation on his forte. Seymour, the national coach, emphasized the need for coaches to be proactive. The response from the floor was gratifying to members of a fraternity that often has to struggle to be recognized as one of the true core sports in the nation.
In fact, it is my understanding that the Ministry of Sports still does not provide the same grant figure to amateur boxing as it does to athletics. While athletics is far and away the top producer of medals regionally and internationally, it is boxing that has proven over and over to be the best program in the Caribbean. Athletics can’t claim that. Jamaica is definitely the best in the Caribbean.
There is no intention here to belittle what the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations(formerly Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association)has done over the past six decades to uplift this country. The point is though, that boxing must now be afforded its rightful entitlements as a core sport here in The Bahamas. The ABFB conclave cemented that fact.
(Be sure to read part two of this series in tomorrow’s publication. To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at [email protected])