The St. Lucia Boxing Association (SLBA) recently received boxing equipment worth just over US$45,000, thanks to the generosity of the International Boxing Association (AIBA). The equipment includes punching bags, head gear, gloves, hand wraps, mouth guards, uniforms, and skipping ropes.
SLBA President, David “Shakes” Christopher, said the new batch of equipment will enhance the SLBA’s boxing programmes as the Association continues to build awareness and attract new boxers to the globally popular sport.
“It will also help us immensely as we continue to decentralize our progammes,” Christopher said this week. “Right now, we can focus on programmes for the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF), Boys Training Centre (BTC), our school programmes, and our chapters in Soufriere, Vieux Fort, Laborie, and Dennery.”
The equipment follows a commitment made by AIBA’s president, Umar Kremlev, a year ago to support the local boxing association by way of providing much-needed equipment. Christopher said this week’s receipt of the new equipment proves that building relationships among associations is essential.
“We’re very grateful to AIBA, especially president Umar Kremlev, for keeping to a promise he made last year in Panama,” said Christopher. “We intend to manage this equipment in the best way as we continue to create more champions and better citizens through boxing.”
Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, the International Boxing Association, or AIBA (originally the Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur), is a sport organization that sanctions amateur (Olympic-style) boxing matches and awards world and subordinate championships.
Christopher said one of the major challenges the Association now faces relates to the heavy workload being carried by its National Head Boxing Coach, Conrad Fredericks. He noted that it’s a daunting task for Fredericks, who desperately needs extra hands to undertake the Association’s many programmes.
“We appeal to past boxers to give back to the programme. We’ve noticed that in other fields of sport, athletes would pay it forward by becoming coaches and administrative representatives. However, for boxing, that seems to be lacking,” the SLBA president explained.
Meanwhile, Coach Conrad Fredericks noted that the new batch of equipment came at the right time as the Association plans to open other boxing gyms across the island. He also added his voice to the president’s appeal for more coaches to come on board.
Since the pandemic began, the boxing gym at Vigie has had to be closed at various times as the COVID-19 protocols were adjusted. However, Coach Fredericks emphasized that during the periods the gym does open, the necessary safety precautions are enforced.
“We’re pleased to share that since the pandemic began, no case of COVID-19 has ever been recorded at the gym,” he said. “We try our utmost to follow all the relevant COVID-19 protocols. However, we find that as the number of cases increases nationally, many boxers are staying away from the gym. After all, boxing is a contact sport, so we do understand their concern.”