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Ministry of Education’s link elevates local boxing image

It could be that the relationship that is building between the Ministry of Education and the junior boxing family in the country will be the lift that the sport badly needs in order to justify its position among the core disciplines within the national sports fraternity.

Boxing has fallen to a low level of vibrancy, with just a few independent arms organizing and coordinating meaningful events.

On Wednesday (March 27, 2019) in Freeport, Grand Bahama, a new era began for boxing. The new development means that it is now conceivable that in the not too distant future, boxing could become part of the sports schedule in government schools. Ministry of Education District Superintendent for West Grand Bahama Ivan Butler, when he pledged to forge the youth boxing camp relationship with the Grand Bahama Sports Promotion Association (GBSPA), might very well have initiated what later on will be considered a milestone for the educational system.

The sport being included in the curriculum has been a prospect discussed by educational personnel and I, as founding secretary to the Amateur Boxing Association of the Bahamas, from as far back as 1968. As president the subsequent seven years, there were continued efforts, and, down the line, other amateur boxing administrations tried to get into the educational system’s door.

There was always one deterrent or the other. Now, the camp concept has been pushed forward by the GBSPA and Butler has bought into the idea. Within the next two months, the stakeholders of the embryonic venture will meet to structure a template which will include an annual a series of boxing training sessions conducted by noted individuals such as Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organization (PACBO) Regional Director and former professional champion Meacher Major.

At the end of each camp schedule, there will be a tournament for which national endorsement will be applied to the Bahamas Boxing Federation, the amateur parent body for the sport. This format figures to result in constant activities with the kind of regularity not afforded amateur boxing aspirants in over four decades.

There was a time when the federation (then, the Amateur Boxing Association of the Bahamas – ABAB) participated in the Miami Golden Gloves series and took boxers on trips for exposure and experience each month.

Once the youth camp gets going, the stage will be set for the development of quality boxers out of Grand Bahama and the rest of the Northern Bahamas. I have been told by Evon Wisdom, the Ministry of Education senior officer who has revitalized sports within the educational system, that he is prepared to work along with the federation which is based in New Providence.

Perhaps the camp concept would be considered on that end. Whatever the case, the launch of the GBSPA Youth Boxing Camp in Grand Bahama is a breath of fresh air for the sport.

“At the Ministry of Education, our concern is developing a holistic child. Just how we’ve produced basketball players and swimmers, we hope to produce professional boxing champions out of a program such as this. So, we applaud the Grand Bahama Sports Promotion Association and express thanks for the equipment as we look forward to producing another champion in boxing,” said Butler.

I understand the enthusiasm.

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

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