In a last-ditch effort to send a local boxing team to the Sugar Bert Boxing WBC (World Boxing Council) Tournament Series, the Bahamas Boxing Federation (BBF) is appealing for funds from corporate Bahamas, or the general public, to make the trip a reality.
The federation is looking to send a 10-member team to the tournament in Kissimmee, Florida, this weekend. The three-day event, the fifth Sugar Bert Boxing show for the year, will be held November 17-20 at the Wyndham Orlando Resort & Conference Center Celebration Area.
Set to represent The
Bahamas are veteran boxer Carl Hield (middleweight), Tyrone Humes (heavyweight), Keianno Cox (featherweight), 11-year-old Milton Newbold (strawweight), Clarence Hepburn (heavyweight), Christian Thompson (junior middleweight), Elijah Smith, Keianno Green (super heavyweight) Maliko Davis (lightweight) and Anniah Powell (welterweight).
The head coach of the team is former local standout boxer Valentino Knowles who has just been appointed president of the revived New Providence Boxing Association, and he will be assisted by Jermaine Gibson out of Freeport, Grand Bahama. Knowles is also the National Boxing Coach.
“We initially started out with a 25-member team but that had to be reduced to 10, and might get cut further, depending on finances,” said BBF President Vincent Strachan yesterday. “It is a strong team. We have boxers from New Providence, Grand Bahama and Inagua. It is indeed a pleasure to be back at this tournament following a two-year disruption, due to COVID. This tournament is one that we have always participated in and it is a good tune-up for the Caribbean Boxing Championships which will be held in December. We are indeed happy to be a supporter of this major boxing event. Most of the boxers are new, but I am very confident that they will do well and bring back medals for their country.”
As Strachan mentioned, the tournament has been canceled in each of the last two years because of the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is open to all levels, beginners to elite, and will feature boxers from as young as nine years old. Strachan said it is a development tournament for all levels.
“We’re appealing to corporate Bahamas for assistance, and we look forward to the support to ensure that these boxers have an opportunity to represent The Bahamas and make this country proud,” said Strachan.
The team is set to leave for Central Florida on Wednesday. Persons wishing to make a donation can do so to the Bahamas Boxing Federation’s account at Commonwealth Bank. Otherwise, they can contact Strachan at telephone number (242) 426-1113 or contact the Bahamas Olympic Committee’s (BOC) office.
Knowles said the team is a skillful one and he is hopeful that they will get an opportunity to compete.
“When you look at young Milton Newbold, his superior level of boxing has propelled him to have a position on this team. He trains hard and is very skillful in the sport of boxing at such a young age. Keianno (Cox) is well-trained and prepared and Tyrone is undefeated through two fights. He will be competing as a novice in Kissimmee. I am confident in the entire team,” said Knowles.
“We intend to be very productive, hopefully bring back some gold medals. For the most part, these guys are just getting their feet wet. This is a part of their development process, so we’re just looking for them to do their best.”
Newbold, who trains at the Aftershock Boxing Club, said he is looking to do his best and represent his family and his country well. He said he gets up at 4 a.m. every day to train.
Cox, who lives on Inagua, said he enjoys the sport and is also looking to represent his family and country well. The 18-year-old said he has been training every day in preparation for this boxing event in Kissimmee, jogging, doing push-ups and sit-ups, and going to the gym on a regular basis. He said he is grateful to his family and coaches for their support.
Humes, 20, trains with the Aftershock Boxing Club right here on New Providence. He said he is looking to win a gold medal and thanked his coaches and parents for always believing in him.
“I train like two times per day, doing morning runs and push-ups, sit-ups, sparring and just hitting the bag. I also train at the UB (University of The Bahamas) gym, lifting weights, so it’s really like about three times per day,” said Humes.
“I feel like I’m ready for this event. I feel sharp and I’m ready to go.”
As for the Caribbean Boxing Championships, that event is set for December 10-18 in Dominica.