#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#STRIKERS Boxing Club founder and coach Ronn Rodgers said he was disappointed in the call by Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg and Bahamas Boxing Commission chairman Fred Sturrup to halt their “Sparring Wars” amateur boxing shows.
#Rodgers, a certified, licenced professional boxing coach and trainer, a cut man and a certified and licenced amateur boxing coach, said after the last event took place on August 22 at the Junkanoo Village, he was accused by Bowleg and Sturrup for putting on an illegal event that didn’t have any safety measures in place.
#“All safety protocols were in place. We had police officers outside, internal security officers inside and the ambulance was on standby outside the gate,” he said.
#“We also had a doctor present at ringside and I conducted the event inside the ring.
#“The participants had on all the necessary safety gears and they were wearing large sparring gloves,” Rodgers said.
#“The professionals don’t wear shirts and the protective gears that the participants were wearing because we wanted to make sure that they were properly protected.”
#The event, according to Rodgers, is one that emanated from grudges that boxers engage in during their training in the gym.
#Like they do all around the world in the sport, Rodgers said they invited the participants to settle their dispute in what they call a “sparring war.”
#In putting on these “sparring wars,” Rodgers said persons in the group tell others, including their family members, and they come out and support them just as they do if there is a sanctioned boxing show.
#“This is not something new to boxing and to the Bahamas, but it’s new to being staged in the Bahamas,” Rodgers said. “So once they are set up, we allow persons to pay to watch the sparring wars. “So instead of settling it on the streets, we provide a safe environment for the boxers to come together and settle their disputes. So yes, there is a fee that we charge because whoever is involved in the dispute, has an opportunity to pay the person whom they have engaged in for the sparring sessions.”
#Rodgers said he’s disappointed in the fact that neither Bowleg or Sturrup tried to ascertain what the “sparring wars” is all about because they publicly called for the event to “cease and desist.”
#He said it was only one event on each show, so it didn’t require any sanctioning from the boxing authorities.
#As a result of their “sparring wars,” Rodgers said they have seen a number of persons coming out to the Strikers Boxing Club in Marshall Road where they are being trained to compete in the sport. The “sparring wars,” however, are only put on for those who have disputes in their sparring sessions. “We have sparring going on every Tuesday and Thursday at our club and whenever we have these grudges, we try to put on the sparring wars on Mondays,” Rodgers said. “So if you say you want us to stop these sparring wars, then we should have to stop the training because these participants are properly trained because they participate in any of these sparring wars.”
#Rodgers said he’s available to speak to any person in government or in the boxing fraternity who has any queries about the “sparring wars.”
#He said he is eager to point out how important events like this is for the further growth and development of the sport.