Regional Boxing Associations calling on Guyana to host Caribbean Championship

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The Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) president, Steve Ninvalle, is receiving calls from a number of his equals from around the region, for the ‘Land of Many Waters’ to host this year’s Caribbean Boxing Championship.

The competition, described as an important pillar for the development of the sport in the Caribbean, has not been held since 2019 when it was last hosted in Trinidad and Tobago.

Guyana played host to the prestigious boxing event in 2015 and 2018 and it is against this backdrop that David ‘Shakes’ Christopher, president of the St. Lucia Boxing Association, believes that the GBA should be the host for this year’s event.

Christopher is being supported by the presidents of Trinidad, Suriname and Grenada.

St. Lucia Boxing Association president, David Christopher

“Mr. Ninvalle already has the blueprint, the know-how and the experience and I think that other presidents will endorse Guyana’s hosting of this event. So I’m calling on Mr. Ninvalle to come out and salvage that tournament as the Caribbean needs to return with a bang to boxing,” Christopher said.

With the Commonwealth Games and the Americas Boxing Confederation (AMBC) Elite Continental being some of the top competitions this year, Christopher believes it is important for the Caribbean Championship to be held this year.

“The Caribbean Championship is our Olympics. We have to make sure that the entire event is something that we will be proud of. My personal belief is that Mr. Ninvalle can make this happen. He has done it before. So at this point in time, I am throwing my hat behind the older and more experienced head,” Christopher explained.

The St. Lucian President added: “Our boxers are moving away from the sport and going into other ills and getting themselves involved in other activities that are not prudent to boxing. I think we need to get boxing back into the ring to save our sport.”

According to Christopher, St. Maarten was earmarked to host this year’s event, but the boxing authorities on the island are facing some logistical and financial issues. This he said was ventilated on Sunday at a meeting of some Caribbean administrators.

“Dominica was earmarked also, but I don’t think they have the capacity to do such (host the Caribbean Championship). So we shouldn’t try to reinvent a tournament that we lost two years. This is where all the countries/islands come together to showcase our development and elite boxers. That is where we get ranking for the Caribbean. So without that, it’s like we’re spinning top in mud; we wouldn’t get anywhere. So again I am calling out Guyana,” Christopher concluded.

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Boxing Association, Cecil Forde

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Boxing Association (TTBA) Cecil Forde, also echoed Christopher’s call for the tournament to return to Guyana.

Forde, one of the longest-serving boxing administrators in the region reasoned that it is only right that the return of the championship is placed in tried and trusted hands.

“This is not a time for us to experiment. The Caribbean Championship is serious business. I support 100% placing this premier event in the hands of Mr. Ninvalle and Guyana hosting the next Caribbean Championship,” Forde said.

President of the Suriname Boxing Association Remy Burke claimed that Guyana has remained a close ally and his country stands to benefit much if the tournament is held here.

“We just have to drive over. So from a financial standpoint Guyana being the venue is beneficial to us as we can take a much larger team as against it being held anywhere else,” Burke said.

Neil Roberts, the president of the Grenada Boxing Association believes that restarting the Championship is a priority for the region.

“At the end of the day we want the championship to be held and not have excuses as to why it could not be held. It’s a foregone conclusion that my support is behind Guyana’s hosting as I personally know the level of organisation and what to expect,” Roberts declared.

Guyana’s position as the top Caribbean territory in Amateur boxing was also used as one of the reasons for the Caribbean Championship to be hosted once again where it all started, but more importantly, the country’s $3.2B allocations for sports in the National Budget.

Guyana Boxing Association President Steve Ninvalle (News Room photo/October 21, 2021)

Meanwhile, in an invited comment, Ninvalle said the GBA is “honoured that some of the Caribbean presidents view Guyana as the appropriate place to host the Caribbean Championships this year.”

“I’m enthused about it. Personally, it shows how Guyana is viewed in the wider Caribbean as not just a producer of quality fighters, but also for its organising competence. The tournament is usually held in November or December so we have a month or two to make a final decision. However, I would go on record as saying that Guyana stands ready.”

Guyana finished third at the 2019 Caribbean Boxing Championships after winning nine medals against a tough field of boxers in Trinidad and Tobago over four nights of competition at the National Cycling Centre (NCC) at Balmain, Couva.

Trinidad and Tobago, which had a field of 25 boxers, is the new champion, while Barbados pipped Guyana by a single point to place second. Some 17 nations, including powerhouse Cuba, participated in the 2019 championships.

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