With their month-long training session in Cuba now done, the two-man boxing team of Carl Hield and Lennox Boyce is now ready to head to the Pan American Games Qualifier in Managua, Nicaragua, with hopes of qualifying for the 2019 Pan American Games this summer in Lima, Peru, and eventually the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan; but a lack of funds is stifling their progress.
The final boxing qualifier for the Pan Am Games for this region, the American Boxing Confederation (AMBC) Men and Women Elite Confederation Championships, is rapidly approaching, set for April 2-11, in Managua, Nicaragua. Expected to represent The Bahamas are veteran Carl Hield in the 69 kilogram (kg.) class (welterweight), and Lennox Boyce in the 64 kg. class (light welterweight). Kayla Johnson is the head coach, and Bahamas Amateur Boxing Federation (BABF) President Vincent Strachan is the assistant coach team manager.
However, with strong words, Strachan said that they are about $6,000 in the hole.
“We want to give The Bahamas an opportunity to qualify for the Pan Ams and the Olympics in boxing, that is very much possible, but we cannot do it if we don’t meet our expenses. We are still looking for an additional $6,000. If those funds are not available, the team might not be able to leave and we would lose thousands of dollars on non-refundable tickets,” said Strachan, desperately calling for assistance. “We are appealing to Corporate Bahamas and the government of The Bahamas to step into the ring and throw a blow for amateur boxing in The Bahamas. The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture is sponsoring pro boxing in the country but is doing nothing for amateur boxing, and this is where the boxers get their start. They are simply giving lip service and making empty promises. They are not seeing what is happening in amateur boxing in this country. The lack of interest shown to our youth and to young athletes by our national leaders is unfolding daily,” he added.
For Hield, this might be his last opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games. He is now 32-years-old and has represented The Bahamas at a number of amateur meets and won regional and international medals. Boyce is just 18-years-old and is competing at the senior level for the first time. He got a taste of international competition at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games here in The Bahamas, and was one of three Bahamian boxers along with Hield and Ronald Woodside to win gold medals at the Sugar Bert National Boxing Tournament in Kissimmee, Florida, USA, at the end of 2018.
Both Hield and Boyce were in Havana, Cuba, training for the past month, courtesy of Aliv.
The competition in Nicaragua is expected to be tough as a number of boxers from throughout the Americas region is set to take part. Both Hield and Boyce said they are ready for the challenge, and are just hopeful that they will be granted the opportunity to compete and represent their country.
If they get to compete, Hield and Boyce only have to finish in the top 12 in their respective weight classes to advance to the 2019 Pan American Games which is set for July 26 – August 11, in Lima, Peru.
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 the national team expenses.
Education: College of The Bahamas, Associates in Accounting