Bahamian boxers powered by Aliv
With sponsorship from telecommunications giant ALIV, the Bahamas Amateur Boxing Federation (BABF) is sending three boxers to Havana, Cuba to get in some much needed training for the upcoming Pan American Boxing Trials. The announcement was made yesterday by Vincent Strachan, president of the local federation – the governing body for the sport of boxing in the country – and came at a press conference at the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC office on Soldier Road.
Representing The Bahamas will be veteran Carl Hield in the 69 kilogram (kg.) class – 152 pounds, Ronald Woodside in the 60 kg. class (132 pounds) and Lennox Boyce in the 64 kg. class (132 pounds).
The three boxers all won gold medals at the Sugar Bert National Boxing Tournament in Kissimmee, Florida at the end of last year.
Traveling with the three-man team will be coaches Vincent Deleveaux, Rico Arnett and Inagua native Colin Ingraham. Keishno Major is currently training the team.
Professional boxers Amron Sands and Rashield Williams were expected to be on the team as well, but they will be going to another trials for the pro boxers.
Strachan said: “Thanks to the BOC who ensured that we went to those tournaments in Florida last year so that our boxers could be better prepared to travel now. We will give maximum effort to ensure that success is reaped in these events.”
Strachan thanked Aliv for taking up the mantle and making it possible for the boxers to head to Cuba to prepare for the qualifiers.
On hand at the press conference was Aliv’s Marketing Executive Jayme Pinder. She said: “At Aliv we pride ourselves at being more than a telecommunications company. We are extremely serious about community involvement and partnering with organizations like the Bahamas Amateur Boxing Federation. This is how we demonstrate that to the public. We understand what this organization is doing for boxing in The Bahamas and for these amazing boxers. We wanted to show our support and we are excited to be on board. We are looking forward to them doing well in their training and matches.”
This could be Hield’s last opportunity to qualify and represent The Bahamas on the Olympic stage.
“I have medals in the Pan American Games, CAC (Central American and Caribbean) Games and other meets, but my dream always was to be the first Bahamian to win a medal at the Olympics Games. That is what kept me around. This is the last shot so I have to put everything in it now,” Hield said.
The experienced fighter noted that these qualifiers will be very tough as all of the countries from the Americas will be there.
Boyce, an 18-year-old boxer, said he trains hard every day and remains focused.
“I feel really good about it. Every day I pray to God, train hard and have a real focused mind to accomplish greatness and to make my country proud,” Boyce said. He said it was tough to stay motivated last year but he has winning an Olympic gold medal as a goal of his. He said he is highly motivated, and is working hard to achieve that.
Woodside took about two years off from boxing but he has returned. He is no stranger to training in Cuba, and is looking forward to going back.
“I have been to Cuba before so I am familiar with the training and traveling, so it is not new to me. It is getting back in shape and putting myself out there to try secure a spot in the qualifiers to go to the Pan Am Games, then try go on and win a medal at the Olympics Games,” Woodside said.
The Pan American Games Boxing Trials is set for April 2-11 in Managua, Nicaragua. Once the boxers get in the top 12 in their respective weight classes, they will advance to the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru to be held from July 26 to August 11, 2019.
The team, once they advance, will head back to Cuba to prepare for the Pan American Games.
Strachan is calling on more corporate sponsors to come forward and help out the federation with national team expenses.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism