This event is really our World Cup. Our Olympics! This is the Caribbean Boxing Olympics. This is where all the countries come together as a family to showcase their boxers, showcase what they have in the region and I think this is going to be an event that persons will really enjoy.”
If you needed a reason to attend the four-day Caribbean Development Boxing Championships (CDBC) which got underway Wednesday at the Beausejour Indoor Facility, President of the St Lucia Amateur Boxing, David “Shakes” Christopher provided the impetus during his opening comment, at recent press conference at the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports.
At least 140 boxers from 14 countries are expected to compete in what should be a fantastic display of boxing.
According to one of the organizers, Cathy Harper-Hall, there is expected to be a total of 90 bouts by the time the championship ends. Seven of them are expected to be female bouts with 10 female boxers being entered. They comprise five from Barbados, two from Trinidad and Tobago, and one each from Aruba, Grenada and hosts Saint Lucia.
Barbados has the largest contingent with just over 20 boxers, while Saint Lucia coached by Conrad Fredericks has a team of 17.
One of the event’s organizers Cathy Harper – Hall said: “The standard of Boxing is going to be very good. Apart from the best boxers in the region, we will be having the top judges and referees and the renowned James Beckles as supervisor. An amazing 90 bouts over four days and four nights.”
David Christopher pleaded with the Saint Lucian population to come out and support the tournament as if it was their own, due to the fact that the local Association was bearing the full cost of the event. He singled out the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee Incorporated, the Department of Youth Development and Sports and some local business interests, for making a substantial intervention after funds from the International Boxing Federation (AIBA) were not forthcoming.
“We started with a budget of $96,000, but that will certainly go up by the time the championship is ended,” Christopher disclosed.
Past President of the SLABA, Joseph “Reds” Perreira says his interest is to get as many Saint Lucians as possible to come out and support the local team and the Championship in general, as it was an event of great significance to Saint Lucia and the Caribbean.
“We want to see all seats filled. The admission [$10.00] is not really a charge, but should be seen as a contribution towards the effort to bring such a huge event to Saint Lucia. This is the third event that the local association has staged this year and we want persons to come out and support in a much more practical way,” he said.
The 14 countries expected to send boxers to the championships include Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Dominica, French Guyana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Martinique, Saint Maarten, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and hosts Saint Lucia.
The championship days will be held in two segments. There was initial action in the ring which started at 3:30 pm Wednesday, followed by a break before evening bouts recommenced from 8:00 pm.
Organizers have promised that transportation will be available from the Beausejour junction to the indoor facility and assured patrons, they will be guaranteed public transportation back to that location after the nights’ cards.