Thursday, Jun 4, 2020
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Uphill challenge faces World Boxing League

Chief boxing personnel in the country today have been dealing with the hard task of keeping the sport relevant and worthy of “core” status.

There has not been a strong amateur boxing base, compared to the late 1960s, the 1970s, 1980s and 2000 decade. A very limited number of professional boxers have emerged to follow in the footsteps of Yama Bahama, Gomeo Brennan, “Baby Boy” Rolle, Sugar Cliff, Wendal Newton and Elisha Obed.

Stagnancy indeed has been characteristic of boxing in The Bahamas. This has been the case throughout the English-speaking Caribbean as well. While Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic have continued to develop meaningful programs, the English-speaking Caribbean has not followed that pattern. So, in walks a budding organization called the World Boxing League (WBL) and it figures to be the savior of boxing in most of the Caribbean region, to enhance the areas of vibrancy and bolster the sport in the wider world.

WBL is headed by the following executive group: President Philip Penston III, Commissioner/Legal Counsel James J. Thomas II, Sales/Marketing/Distribution Chief Glenn Harris, Director – Mexico Javier Garcia, Director – USA Doug Verb, Director – Canada CFO Jacques D’Entremonte, External Audit/Price Waterhouse Coopers Representative Hector Coronada, Information Technology Chief Robert Ogilvie and Publicist Iasha King.

The make-up of WBL is comprehensive, and I think ideal for the challenges ahead, in carving out an entity no other has been successful with before. A boxing league, of the template of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), FIFA (International Federation of Association Football), FIBA (International Basketball Federation), etc., is ambitious. President Penston recognizes that, and acknowledges the necessity of networking with the appropriate partners in order to craft something that works.

I spoke to Penston again on Saturday. He was understandably cautious, but confident.

“I can say that we are rapidly approaching a completed proposal to present to the tourism folks of the region. Preliminary discussions are leading to events in the spring of the year 2020. More details are forthcoming but the future of WBL looks exciting and quite promising. A lot of upfront work has been done already. We have had interaction with a variety of boxing commissions, heads of boxing gymnasiums, production crews and the like. We have the insurance set up and we are moving forward,” said Penston.

Today and continuing during the week, conference calls will be made to a number of areas as the networking with leading boxing figures continues on the Caribbean side.

“This is just something that Jim (Thomas) and I decided, after being connected to boxing for such a long time, needed to be done. Circumstances have not always been favorable for boxers in this business. So, we feel WBL could impact the business positively and set the stage for providing better opportunities for all boxers,” said Penston.

The World Boxing League is on the way!


• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.


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