The Saint Lucia Boxing Association (SLBA) recently received boxing equipment worth just over US $ 45,000, thanks to the generosity of the International Boxing Association (AIBA). Equipment includes punching bags, headgear, gloves, bandages, mouthguards, uniforms and skipping ropes.
SLBA President David “Shakes” Christopher said the new equipment package will enhance SLBA boxing programs as the association continues to educate and attract new boxers to the globally popular sport.
“It will also help us tremendously as we continue to decentralize our programs,” Christopher said. “For now, we can focus on the programs of the Bordeaux Correctional Institution (BCF), Boys Training Center (BTC), our school programs and our sections in Soufrière, Vieux Fort, Laborie and Dennery.”
The equipment follows a pledge made a year ago by AIBA President Umar Kremlev to support the local boxing association by providing them with the much-needed equipment. Christopher said receiving the new equipment this week proves that building relationships between associations is essential.
“We are very grateful to AIBA, especially President Umar Kremlev, for keeping a promise he made last year in Panama,” said Christopher. “We intend to manage this equipment in the best possible way as we continue to create more champions and better citizens through boxing.”
Based in Lausanne, Switzerland, the International Boxing Association, or AIBA (originally the International Amateur Boxing Association), is a sports organization that sanctions amateur (Olympic-style) boxing matches and awards championships of the world and subordinates.
Christopher said one of the main challenges the Association faces now is the heavy workload of its National Head Coach, Conrad Fredericks. He noted that this is a daunting task for Fredericks, who is in desperate need of extra hands to undertake the Association’s many programs.
“We call on former boxers to give back to the program. We noticed that in other areas of sport, athletes would fire it by becoming coaches and administrative representatives. However, for boxing, this seems to be lacking, ”explained the president of the SLBA.
Meanwhile, trainer Conrad Fredericks noted the new equipment bundle has arrived at the right time as the Association plans to open more boxing gyms across the island. He also added his voice to the President’s call for more coaches to join us.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Vigie boxing gym has had to close several times because COVID-19 protocols have been adjusted. However, coach Fredericks stressed that during times when the gymnasium is open, the necessary safety precautions are applied.
“We are happy to share that since the start of the pandemic, no case of COVID-19 has ever been recorded in the gym,” he said. “We are doing our best to follow all relevant COVID-19 protocols. However, we are seeing that as the number of cases increases nationwide, many boxers are staying away from the gym. Boxing is a contact sport after all, so we understand their concern. “