Wed | Nov 25, 2020

Hope increases for boxing champs

Published:Thursday | November 19, 2020 | 12:15 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Jones
Jones

President of the Jamaica Boxing Board (JBB), Stephen ‘Bomber’ Jones, said anticipation is high ahead of next year’s National Championships.

The three-day event is tentatively set for February and will be used to select Jamaica’s team for the Olympic Games qualifiers.

Jones told The Gleaner that his organisation is close to securing the relevant COVID-19 approvals from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, which will allow for the country’s boxers to return to the ring.

“They (boxers) are more than anxious to get out there because this is what they do and they are unable to (compete),” said Jones. “They are not just looking forward to the National Championships, but for boxing in general, because it is one thing to train, but you do want to see where you are by having competitions.

“We are ready, and the minute we get the approval for the sport to return, then we can start,” Jones said.

GAMES CANCELLED

This year’s National Championships was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and according to Jones, the country’s male and female boxers were on course to achieving great things at the Olympic Games, which itself was cancelled until next year.

“The federation thinks that we would have fielded the strongest team from Jamaica ever to go to the Olympics, based on where we were leading up to COVID,” Jones said.

“Not only would we have a 100 per cent qualification, but we were promised medals and we have never won a medal at the Olympic Games in boxing, but both the males and females would have carried our flag to another level,” Jones claimed.

He further believes that the sport has been growing at a steady pace in the country, and that the suspension of boxing due the COVID-19 pandemic will not severely affect the development of the sport.

“A lot of people at all level miss boxing, which is a good thing, and the ones that I am most encouraged by are at the grassroots level,” Jones said.

“What we have been doing in the communities, and the attraction that the Gloves Over Guns programme has been getting from the amateur level to the professional level, and the way it galvanised the communities, was what we were most proud of before we got the stop in March,” he said.

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com