Local boxers oppose “neglect of sport”

Coming off of the energy from the Guyana Boxing Board of Control’s (GBBC) ‘Bad Intentions’ event last weekend, a number of local boxers have spoken out against the environment in which they have to work.

Guyanese boxer, Mark Austin, who suffered a second round knock out at the hands of Jamaican, Richard Holmes spoke to Guyana Times Sport, citing a number of reasons why he was outmatched in the fight.

Vice President of NexGen Global, Aleem Hussain
Vice President of NexGen Global, Aleem Hussain
Mark Austin
Mark Austin

The talented fighter said, “This fight was my first fight of the year and I just didn’t have enough time to train.” He added that he was informed that he would be fighting a different boxer but was short noticed on the change in his opponent. Holmes on the other hand, fought as recently as in July.

Austin added that the sport does not offer much financially and he has to work three jobs just to maintain his family, after which he has to train. However, Austin is not the only fighter who spoke out against the lack of fights being made available in Guyana.

James Walcott, who not only boxes, but is a trainer at the Harpy Eagles Gym, indicated that it is the lack of exposure and fighting that undermines the sport.

“Just imagine Guyana’s only Olympic medal came from boxing and we have guys here who have the potential but are not fighting as much as these other countries,” Walcott said.

Former Fecarbox title holder, Dexter ‘Cobra’ Gonsalves pointed out that he has only been in three fights in the past three years and it was because he had not fought in a lengthy time that he was forced to surrender his title.

Guyana Times Sport visited the ‘Forgotten Youths’ boxing gym, located in the heart of Albouystown, where Gonsalves trains and the conditions were grossly unacceptable.

With nearly 100 talented under 18 prospects training out of the facility, it is a shame that there is no proper equipment available for these youths. A shortage of gloves is one issue, but the one of the major obstacle is the unavailability of a proper ring.It was revealed that the GBBC was informed of the situation, heading into the build-up of the fight but were reluctant to give the fighters a proper canvas to train on. The canvas would not only have bettered Gonsalves’ chances, but better the chances of several other fighters on that night.

It is for these reasons that a number of young boxers have chosen to sign under the management of NexGen Global Promotions.

Of the five fights that were carded for ‘Bad Intentions’, five of the fighters were signed under NexGen Global Promotions, including main event fighter, Gonsalves.

Vice-President of NexGen Global Promotions, Aleem Hussain, speaking on the state of Boxing in Guyana, highlighted his vision for the sport.

Hussain said that under his wings, if given the support by the GBBC, he will transform Guyana into the Las Vegas of the Caribbean, citing the success of NexGen’s Caribbean Knockdown boxing card. Hussain added, “I am looking to have at least two boxing cards every month and offer these boxers an attractive purse, as well as a pension plan.”

“The pension plan”, Hussain said, “is the first of its kind for the sport in Guyana, taking a portion of the boxer’s purse and putting it in a plan so he can benefit from it in the future.”

The Vice-President also highlighted that Gonsalves benefitted from brand new sets of boxing equipment imported by NexGen Global Promotions, as well as employing a doctor and dietitian for the boxer. Additionally, NexGen Global’s vision for the sport in Guyana was aiming to build every local fighter by introducing a system where fighters would not fight their countryman.

Hussain said, when he had proposed the plan to the GBBC, it was well supported but he is still puzzled as to why the GBBC has not yet granted the company its licence to go ahead with the plans, having already proven his track record.

‘Bad Intentions’ was a five card event which saw Dexter Gonsalves being edged on points by USA fighter, DeMarcus Corley for the Fecarbox title in the main event.

In the other fights, Anthony Narine registered a win on debut as Keeve Alicock was disqualified. Mark Austin suffered a second round knock out to Richard Holmes, Imran Khan lost to Quincy Gomes and Barbadian powerhouse, Charwin Estwick defeated Guyanese Kelsey George.