Amateur boxing has had two golden eras.
The birth year evolved into a decade of success beyond expectations.
Then, there was the decade of the 2000s.
Feather/lightweight Paul Cash was significantly a part of the earlier era.
Firstly, there was the embryonic period (1968-78), ushered in by a Bert Perry-orchestrated group of Bahamas Amateur Boxing Association (now federation) executives (President Virginius Knowles, Vice President Charlie Major Sr., Secretary Fred Sturrup, Treasurer Amos Ferguson and Director Rudy Moultrie). Perry was the first national amateur boxing coach.
He came out of New York as the heavyweight silver medalist of that state’s Golden Gloves Tournament, and returned home with the idea of establishing a national amateur program. He did so with the aforementioned, and the assistance of youth boxing clubs, headed by Perry, Sonny Boy Rahming and Boston Blackie.
That early period blossomed quickly and over a 10-year span, was historic by connecting with the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and subsequently the International Olympic Committee via participation in the 1972 Munich, Olympics. During the decade, inter-tournaments were arranged with Canada and Bermuda. Bahamian amateur boxing teams were regular participants at the Florida Golden Gloves and Bahamian boxers (Nat Knowles and Gary Davis) performed on the Central American and Caribbean Games stage for the very first time.
Knowles won the country’s first boxing international medal, silver in the middleweight division. Incidentally, the boxing medal was the only piece of hardware for by the entire Bahamas delegation at the 1974 Central American and Caribbean Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Cash came on stream following Knowles and Davis and others of that pioneer crew of young boxers. He was a dynamic, every time he went into the ring. He glittered, in particular, at the annual Independence tournaments and reigned several times as the Independence champ.
Today, Cash is far removed from the boxing ring. He is a quality adult and dedicated member of St. Anslem’s Catholic Church. Earlier this year, we interacted for the very first time in 40 years. My natural question was: “What happened such a gifted boxer?”
“I enjoyed my time in the ring as an amateur. But, a few years went by and I just moved on, away from the sport,” said Cash.
That was his very simple explanation. His decision to opt out of boxing, was the sport’s loss. Cash had world championship talent. He was crafty, shifty, and had high level punching ability.
His timing was not good though. He missed out on opportunities to qualify for the Olympics and other international and regional competitions. If not, he would have been a name known throughout the national sporting fraternity.
He was tough, one of the truly fine athletes of another era.
Thus, it’s a pleasure to go down memory lane to acquaint him to generations of Bahamians who came along on the sports scene after he had left boxing.
Best wishes Paul!
On a more somber note, condolences go out to my Bahamas Boxing Commission colleague, Treasurer Alvin Sargent and his family. His mother, Hilda M. Sargent, 93, passed away on Tuesday, December 3. May her soul forever rest in peace!
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