By Neto Baptiste
Coach and owner of the Uprising Boxing Gym, Anthony Severin, is hoping that a recent trip to Dominica by a contingent of local boxers could be the first step towards normalising the sport here in Antigua and Barbuda after more than a decade of inactivity at the local level.
“We still need to add a little bit more communication because it was just prior to this event that we reached out and the association took on some of the boxers. So, now that we are back, hopefully we can form some sort of dialogue and set up some meetings and hopefully then we can come to some amicable solution as to what’s going to happen,” he said.
“Once you have hope and always pushing forward, you realise that once there is a will there is a way, and I have the will, so I am going to push and pursue. Hopefully, the association will see that it is for the interest of the youngsters and for the country on a whole and they will come on board and do what’s right,” he added.
A total of six Antiguan boxers, two of whom represented Dominica, competed at the OECS championships held in the nature isle last weekend, combining for an overall haul of six medals.
The initiative was a joint effort between the Uprising Boxing Gym and the national boxing association.
According to Severin, the association funded the trip for four fighters while the other two were funded by the Dominica association.
Elite boxer Joshua Toussaint won gold for Dominica and was also crowned the best overall fighter of the tournament.
Severin believes this is an indication that there is a wealth of talent yet to be unearthed.
“One of our boxers became the best boxer in the region at this event so that’s just to say that these guys could have been representing Antigua maybe long before if we only had national championships. So all of the other qualifiers in terms of the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, this guy could have been in there and even a few of our boxers,” he said.
The coach said a better functioning association could be better equipped to provide more quality competition for boxers.
“We need to make sure we have continuous boxing competitions amongst ourselves, amongst other countries because what we have right now is just one functioning boxing gym with boxers. Most of the times when we do events they have to compete against themselves [and] sometimes they may have to give up a few pounds here and there because they are in different weight categories, so definitely we have a lot of things to do. We have to sit down and plan; planning is very important and once we plan properly then we will get to where we’re going,” Severin said.
The local boxing association and its members have enjoyed a tumultuous relationship for some time now with some influential figures in boxing calling for the resignation of sitting president, Len Mussington and the rest of his executive.
The sport has seen little to no activity at the national level and has gone without a national championship for many years.