Boxing is returning to the nation’s second city – Freeport, Grand Bahama.
In a move to honor one of the icons of the sport, retired Bahamian lightweight champion Meacher “Major Pain” Major, through the Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organization (PACBO) in conjunction with Major Pain Promotions and Entertainment, is staging the first Fred Sturrup Boxing Invitational. The amateur boxing show, which is intended to become an annual event, is set for Saturday, March 16, at the Wallace Groves Auditorium on East Sunrise Highway in Freeport. It will get underway at 7 p.m. on that Saturday night.
Peter Adderley from Freeport is assisting Major with the organization of the event.
Sturrup, who has spent a significant portion of his life around the sporting discipline of boxing and sports in general, said it’s a privilege to be honored by Major and his promotional company in this fashion. Boxing enthusiast Cassius Moss will also be making a special presentation to Sturrup, and boxing trainer Nathaniel Knowles will give special thanks.
“This is a feather in my cap and I do appreciate it,” he said. “I have always found time to be dedicated to sports development because that is my passion, and it only fortifies me to continue working toward uplifting sports in the country. Over the years, a whole lot of people have expressed appreciation for what I have provided in sports and I am very satisfied. I’m looking forward more than anything to the establishment of a trend for amateur boxing in Grand Bahama. Grand Bahama is the second city and is quite capable of being that mecca for sports events and promotions in the northern Bahamas. It is certainly good to see the sport of boxing become a part of the revitalization process of sporting programs here in Grand Bahama, and we look forward to that continuing.”
Major said there will be about four amateur bouts that evening, and in a special treat for the fans, he himself will enter the ring in an exhibition match. Major, one of the more noted fighters in Bahamian history, ended his boxing career with a knockout win over Jamaican Martin Anderson here in The Bahamas last year. He won quite a few local and international titles during his career, and currently serves as a regional director for PACBO.
“I am grateful to God for such an opportunity to be in the position to honor one of my mentors, Fred Sturrup,” said Major. “To me, from all I have learnt about Fred over the years, he is the godfather for the sport of boxing in The Bahamas. His track record speaks for itself. For all he has done, for what he has put in place for myself and others to have an opportunity to fight at the elite level, he deserves to be honored.”
Major said he came up with the idea to honor Sturrup in this way during his preparation for his last fight. The card will feature local boxers from the Major Pain Boxing Club, which is headed by Kato “Red Lion” Ferguson. Ferguson is expected to bring some of the top upcoming amateur boxers from the club to Freeport for the show.
“It’s going to be some exciting amateur boxing matches and the people in Freeport will be thrilled,” said Major. “The young boys we are taking to Freeport are the future faces for boxing in The Bahamas. Within the next year or maybe sooner, they will be representing The Bahamas as members of the youth national boxing team.”
Sturrup said this is going to be an event to highlight amateur boxing in Grand Bahama, and he expects it to be continuous.
“I’m really looking forward to it. The whole idea is to set a trend and continue to build off that,” said Sturrup. “I’m being told that four spirited amateur bouts are going to be on the card, and then Meacher himself is putting on an exhibition show, so it should be an exciting night and one that the Grand Bahamian fans will enjoy thoroughly.”
Major said: “I expect the night to go great. Freeport has some very supportive people. They are excited and have welcomed me with open arms. I don’t want to disappoint them. Last year, Mr. Sturrup hosted a boxing event in honor of the former British Commonwealth boxing champions Ray Minus Jr., Jermaine ‘Choo Choo’ Mackey, Steven Larrimore and Gomeo Bennen. It was a great night, something I have never seen before in The Bahamas. That has inspired me to want to keep that alive. There are more plans ahead for this year for Freeport and some of out islands in the sport of boxing. We plan to resurrect boxing through PACBO with the help of the amateur boxing federation of The Bahamas. This is just the beginning of what is to come.”
As far as him stepping back in the ring is concerned, Major said that he knows it’s just an exhibition match but added that he feels good and being a part of this event to honor Sturrup means more to him than all he has accomplished inside the ring in his boxing career. That’s high praise coming from the retired Bahamian lightweight champion.
“I have a passion for boxing, but more so than boxing, this is about honoring someone who I looked up to for guidance during the course of my pro career,” said Major. “We always celebrate those who are no longer alive and here with us. As an amateur boxer, I fought many times in the L. Garth Wright Tournament, which was held in honor of someone I never met or gotten any history of. I don’t know who he was and what he did for boxing. While we have a living legend here with us today, we are going to celebrate him as it should be.”
Sturrup is a former president of the Bahamas Boxing Federation (BBF) and the Commonwealth Boxing Council (CBC). He now heads PACBO, and is one of just a handful of Bahamians to ever head local and international sporting bodies. Sturrup was inducted into The Bahamas’ National Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. The veteran sports journalist, who is now the managing editor of the Freeport News, is also a member of the African American Golfers Hall of Fame (AAGHOF).