PHILIPSBURG—A significant amount of much-needed boxing equipment donated by International Boxing Association (AIBA) to the St. Maarten National Boxing Federation was presented to the media at a press conference in the RYU Training Club, Cannegieter Street, on Thursday.
The Green Hill brand equipment received was based on a list of needs sent by the Federation to the new President of AIBA who complied with the request.
Federation President Shawn Blair said the objective is to donate the equipment to clubs and gyms to encourage more participation in boxing, in the context of developing boxing in St. Maarten.
Vice-President Daniel Ottley noted the key piece of equipment still missing is the professional boxing ring itself.
“We are working hard on getting one. You really need to have the ring, for boxers to get the feel of boxing,” he explained. “We want to get boxing more out there.”
Blair explained the boxing ring was listed as a priority in the request that went first through the Caribbean Boxing Organisation (CBO) but somehow through a miscommunication, the ring got left out.
“What we are requesting now in our letter is to obtain the funding to buy the ring. That’s our priority as well as to have our own permanent boxing gym.”
In the meantime, RYU’s Gym is a venue where young boxers can train Tuesdays and Thursdays. The gym received two punching bags.
Owner of the gym, Ron Yu, expressed appreciation to the Green Hill brand for the donated boxing equipment. “It’s important to have good quality, protective equipment for our kids,” he said.
Blair is also appealing to veteran or retired boxers who feel they can still contribute to helping the youth, to come forward.
“We are asking them to get in touch with us so we can start developing boxing in the different communities and districts. And we also want to promote boxing in the schools.”
Blair stressed that boxing is not a violent sport, as some would like to portray it. But like all contact sports there is a risk of injury. This is minimised by training, discipline and correct technique.
“Boxing changes lives, and develops self-esteem among other benefits,” he countered.
Following a successful collaboration with the French side’s ABC Inter Sports Club at a boxing exhibition last month, the Federation will reciprocate with an exhibition on the Dutch side on September 25 and thereafter the invitations will alternate each month.
Further down the line, Blair reminded that St. Maarten is due to be hosting the Caribbean Championships in December 2022. It was supposed to have been held in 2020 but the coronavirus pandemic changed everything. The hope is that this time it will take place and lead to some welcome sports tourism.
Friday, August 27, is World International Boxing Day and to commemorate the occasion Blair disclosed there will be a boxing demonstration on the Boardwalk, opposite the Courthouse, at 5:00pm where young boxer’s skills will be showcased. The public is encouraged to come out and support the event.