The Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas’ (ABFB) three-member team from Caribbean Boxing Championships returned home with one silver and two bronze medals from the regional championships that wrapped up over the weekend at the National Cycling Velodrome in Balmain, Couva, Trinidad and Tobago. The championships got underway last Thursday and ran through Sunday.
Winning the silver medal was Vashann Johnson in the Youth Novice Lightweight Division. Keith Major Jr. and Austin Minnis won bronze medals – Major in the Novice Middleweight Division and Minnis in the Novice Welterweight Division. Also making up The Bahamas’ contingent were ABFB President Vincent Strachan, ABFB Acting Secretary General BBF and Team Manager Maedawn Rahming, Head Coach Keishno Major and Gregory McPhee, who travelled as a referee/judge.
This was both Johnson’s and Major’s second international competition, while Minnis made his international debut.
“Our boxers did very well. They were very competitive, and we were able to obtain a silver medal and two bronze medals,” Rahming said. “I feel very proud being new to the organization and as acting secretary general. We can do very well, and we have been doing well in sports in every capacity. I feel we can do better if we have more support from the government, private sector and corporate sponsors.”
Keishno Major spoke highly of Johnson who fell to Joel Bishop out of Barbados in the gold medal match.
“Vashann Johnson is one of those fighters who you can call a needle in a haystack – a rare breed,” Coach Major said. “He has the ambition, the dedication and the determination to become a great fighter one day. He trains hard every day – rain or shine. He gives 110 percent at all times. He gave it his all and he made his mark internationally and in the English-speaking Caribbean in this tournament.”
Coach Major said that Johnson’s fight against Bishop was decided by a split decision. He said it could have gone either way.
Keith Major fell to Jon-Mikol Rankin from the Cayman Islands. Coach Major said he put on a good show in his bout but just came up short.
“I was impressed with all three of them especially Austin Minnis. He came a long way and fought three hard rounds. He did not get a win, but he is a winner in my heart because I know how far he came from. He fought his best and gave it his best and he went the full three rounds.”
Minnis fell to Trinidadian Stephen Cox.
Coach Major made a plea for assistance for the ABFB. He wants to continue working with the boxers as he sees a bright future ahead for them.
“I must say that the boxing federation needs help. We also need help. As coaches, we don’t get paid. The facility that we train in needs to be upgraded. We had to throw cookouts and sell food and stuff like that to raise money to attend tournaments. We have no backing from our federation. It would be good if we have people out there who are willing to sponsor or help out with this boxing program for the future of these boxers. It would be good.”
Coach Major said he is confident that they are going to develop a new breed of elite fighters and he is willing to keep it going by putting 100 percent into the development phase but he added that their success would be based on financial assistance.
The BBF sent out a press release stating: “This tournament brought together over 100 juniors, novices and elite boxers, male and female boxers, from throughout the region including Cuba and Haiti, who are all looking to the final Olympic qualifier in Argentina in March/April 2020.”
In addition to Cuba and Haiti, boxers also came from the Cayman Islands, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia and host nation, Trinidad and Tobago.
The host nation won the overall title. Finishing behind them was Barbados and coming in third was the defending champion, Guyana.
Team Bahamas returned home on Tuesday.