Boxing, one of Bermuda’s best chances of Olympic glory has got a black eye.
The Bermuda Amateur Boxing Association (B.A.B.A), our national governing body for the sport of boxing, is currently ineligible to host or participate in any local, international competitions or conferences as it relates to boxing under the statues of AIBA International Boxing Association.
AIBA is the world governing body for the sport and holds the authority over boxing competitions in the Commonwealth Games, Olympics, World Championships or any international events of a lesser magnitude.
Boxing remains Bermuda’s only Olympic medal. Thirty-seven years ago Clarence Hill won bronze in Montreal in 1976.
Since then only a handful of Bermudians have qualified in various events for the Olympics and even fewer have come close to medalling.
Bermuda continues to struggle to develop the high ratio of raw talent that exists in the island to the elite competitive level needed at international standard.
Currently, the only sitting members of the B.A.B.A are Deborah Smith, secretary/treasurer and Quinton Mallory, liaison officer.
Vacant are the positions of president, vice president, assistant treasurer, assistant secretary and gym representatives.
These positions need to be filled before Bermuda is allowed to participate in competitions.
The process to fill these positions is a fairly simple one. Applications are submitted to the local association and it is then forwarded to the AIBA for approval.
Upon approval the local general members vote in a ballot to select the Executive Committee. To vote a person must be a financial member three months prior to any election. Yearly membership is a mere $25.
Committee members are responsible for the sanctioning of all boxing events taking place in Bermuda whether amateur or now professional per AIBA.
Organizing this association could benefit the island in hosting events that could attract hundreds of athletes and potentially thousands of visitors, subsequently benefiting the tourism economy.
Each time a Bermudian does well in his/her craft on the international stage, Bermuda gets exposure to the rest of the world. Whenever I participated in international events, our group always brought along Bermuda pins and postcards for people we would meet. Talk about successful advertising.
With all the pride, joy and glory that come from the success of our athletes, it is our duty as a nation to do all that we can to help our athletes get to the level needed to achieve that success.
As long as I have known, this particular association has had limited funding from the sporting authorities in Bermuda, while other sports that have a much less chance of achieving international success receive millions of dollars in funding.
What I would like to see is a more even distribution of funds allocated to all organized sports on the island.
Not all Bermudians play football or cricket — to diversify is to not put all of your eggs into one basket.
Bermudians have always been fond of boxing. Whenever an event is put on, droves of well-dressed spectators come out to enjoy the event, rivalling any football or cricket event.
Some say boxing is dangerous and don’t want their youth to participate. I agree that it can be a dangerous sport but so are many other sports.
Buying your child a bike at 16 is also potentially dangerous, but then there is project ride.
This is a sport that can bring the island together in solidarity to support its sons and daughters.
This is a sport that can attract young and at-risk young people to direct their energy into something more positive and productive.
With the current state of the B.A.B.A it will be hard to see how Bermuda can replicate the feats achieved by Clarence over 30 years ago. We must do all that we can to save the sport of boxing in Bermuda.
Contact Deborah Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can become a member.
Trace Easton used to box out of Chuck Renaud’s Controversy gym. He had 13 local and international bouts and missed Olympic qualification by one fight in Rio in 2004. He won the Caribbean Amateur Boxing Association light-heavyweight gold in 2002.