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‘Friends’ call for better for boxing
A number of former T&T Boxing Board of Control (TTBBC) board members, some of whom are part of a non-affiliated group known as “Friends of Boxing”, are calling for an overhaul of the sport in the country.
Major renovations to the country’s most productive gyms, proper accountability and transparency at the governing level and equal opportunities to those who are capable of taking the sport further, were some of the issues raised at a press conference held at The Nu Pub, Ariapita Avenue, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
Among the concerned parties present were Friends of Boxing’s Franchot Moore, Ricardo Phillip and Molly Boxhill, the latter of whom was a member of five different boxing boards and devoted over 40 years to the sport.
Boxing promoter, Tansley Thompson, who claimed that a request for approval for a major bout over a year ago was ignored, was a key speaker. Several other gym owners and managers were also in attendance.
Thompson called for support of the gyms which continues to strive, including Demetri Stroude’s Carenage-based Magic Boxing Gym, which was again named Best Boxing Gym, at the recently concluded National Amateur Boxing Championships.
Stroude’s gym, which trains over 40 boxers, sometimes floods and boxers are forced to practice in the street on Smith Hill. Sand City Gym, located in Siparia, was also represented at the press conference. The gym also trains several dozen athletes but is in a state of disrepair, with constant flooding.
But, Yan’s, a recently established boxing gym, owned by Potts enjoys all the necessary commodities, according to Moore. “So, why is Wamba’s (Sand City), in such a state?”
“Boxing in T&T is dead,” said Moore.
Moore, who has resided in the US for nearly 40 years is a former inspector, judge and referee as well as a member of the Florida, Washington State and Nevada Boxing Commission.
“We ask that the Prime Minister, the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General particularly take a look at what is going on.
“The monopolisation of the professional system by the clique leaves no other room for another promoter. Mr Jason Fraser, Floyd Trumpet, Tansley Thompson and many other promoters have lost a significant amount of money in this regard.”
The death of boxing was brought on in large part due to former promoter, Boxu Potts’ two-and-a-half year role as the TTBBC special advisor, according to Moore.
He said the governance of boxing is being handled undemocratically by Potts, under the watchful eye of the Minister of Sport, who Moore said claims to be an advocate in the exposure of corruption. He added that Potts remains in full control of the TTBBC and maintains a large influence in the T&T Amateur Boxing Association.
However, solutions were offered by Thompson to resolve some of the issues. “We must appoint people who have an interest in boxing.”
Thompson said there were several people who previously worked with the board, who had no interest in the sport. “We must have quarterly meetings with stakeholders. We have to monitor both troubled and talented boxers. Boxing is a sport which requires discipline,” said Thompson. “Boxers need to be introduced to a spiritual lifestyle.”
Finally, Thompson said an audit should be conducted for all monies disbursed to the TTBBC.
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