Amateur boxing is in a critical state but it is not dead, says president of the Barbados Boxing Association, Anthony Jones.
Jones admitted to Barbados TODAY that presently amateur boxing in the island was at is lowest ebb but this state of affairs would not deter the association from doing its upmost to keep the sport alive.
“We are currently at an all-time low due to our financial state. As a result we have been unable to stage boxing bouts in the last six months. Last weekend [two weeks ago] we tried to hold a card at the Netball Stadium but were forced to abandoned it due to the weather conditions. It was a technical knockout that we did not need at this time,” Jones said.
He explained that the association was unable to source an indoor facility for its card and as a result they took a chance and used the Netball Stadium. The rain fell rendering the ring unsafe and the bouts were terminated.
“This was unfortunate because our boxers are preparing to participate in three major events later this this year. Our boxers will be competing in the CAC Games, the Commonwealth Games and the World Youth Championship which is a qualifier for the Youth Olympics. This card was to give our boxers some much needed practice in the ring. Three boxers from Puerto Rico – Gerardo Bisbal, Rolon Edgardo and Moises Zorrila – were scheduled to compete with our local fighters. Sadly, due to the weather they were not able to showcase their skills,” Jones said.
The president said the association was unable to attract sponsorship from corporate Barbados. He explained that they received some monetary assistance from the National Sports Council but added the business community does not respond to their requests for financial assistance. He said that the boxing association was well supported by the Barbados Olympic Association and issued a call for business houses to assist amateur boxing on the island.
The long-standing member of the ABA told Barbados TODAY that there were more than 50 boxers registered with the association including several women.
“Kimberly Gittens of the BDF Sports Programme who fights in the welterweight class is a very good boxer but we cannot get anyone in her class to come to the island to fight her. Mary Frazier is another good fighter but she is outside the weight that is accepted internationally and this has prevented her from getting fights,” Jones said.
The president said Anderson Emmanuel, Ricardo Blackman and Leonard Blackman were currently the male elite boxers in the country. Emmanuel, who fights in the heavyweight division, has won medals at the CAC, Commonwealth and Pan Games and is currently training for the Commonwealth Games which will be held in Scotland later this year.
Jones, who was treasurer of ABA for ten years before he was elected to the position of president four years ago, said he and the other members of the executive body would not abandon the fight to keep boxing alive.
He noted that boxing was a sport that appealed to the masses and there were six gyms currently operating on the island which were helping to guide young men down the correct path and that gave him the encouragement to continue to be involved with the sport despite the difficulties.
The ABA is planning a card at the Springer Memorial School on March 8.