Saint Lucia
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Young Boxers Slug it Out Tonight at Vigie Complex

Boxing is back, and Saint Lucians are urged to turn out and support the island’s young athletes, as they compete in the ongoing Champion of Champions Boxing Tournament, which started last night at the Vigie Sports Complex.

[L-R] Sports Minister Kenson Casimir & David Christopher SLBA President
[L-R] Sports Minister Kenson Casimir & David Christopher SLBA President
The regional tournament culminates today and features elite young boxers battling it out in the ring for bragging rights.

President of the Saint Lucia Boxing Association (SLBA) David Christopher said it was pleasing to witness the young athletes from across the region returning to the ring to participate and compete in the sport, after an absence due to the pandemic.

“This will be the next set of elite boxers in the region, because the present set of elite boxers is sort of wearing out, right now,” Christopher told reporters, at a media briefing, Thursday.

He said the athletes were supposed to have been here two weeks ago, preparing for the next Mens World Boxing Championships, organized by the International Boxing Association, but this had not materialised.

“So what we did quickly as presidents of boxing associations in the region, we came together and agreed to work with the Development Programme, which the ministry (sports) is putting a lot of emphasis (on) and investing a lot of money into,” he added.

“These are the next set of boxers that will be the ‘cream of the crop’ from their (respective) countries,” said Christopher.

The competing athletes are from; Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), Barbados, Guyana, Guadeloupe, Cayenne, and Saint Lucia.

“We will be featuring most of our boxers from the Ministry of Sports’ Development Program,” the SLBA president explained. He said the ministry has hired the services of a Cuban coach to assist the young athletes, and commended especially the efforts of the young boxers from the southern community.

Boxing coach Conrad Fredericks
Boxing coach Conrad Fredericks

Christopher noted that the schools programme has been thriving under the guidance of national boxing coach Conrad Fredericks and this augurs well for the future development of the sport.

He said most of the young boxers from that programme will be featured in the tournament and “these young boxers will be in the ring for the first time, so we call on Saint Lucians to come out and support these young boxers. Because these boxers will be doing something different when they choose to take on the sport of boxing, which translates to changing lives and creating champions and exemplary citizens.”

He explained that the tagline for the tournament is “Hands in Gloves and Not on Guns”

“We want to make sure that you all stay with those gloves and don’t deal with the guns,” Christopher said.

He added, “’Nuff cuffs, Champion of Champions, ‘nuff punches and bunches’ and that’s what you are going to get.”

He acknowledged the support of major corporate sponsors, agencies and the Ministry of Sports for providing support for the tournament.

Sports Minister Kenson Casimir commended the boxing programme, with particular focus on the young athletes from the south of the island.

“I want to put Saint Lucia on notice, and I want to put every association on notice that boxing is back to full effect in Saint Lucia,” declared Casimir.

“We have seen the sheer numbers of young people coming out of this (boxing) programme and it is very encouraging when we see young people, that they speak of in the most negative ways being placed in the discipline of a boxing programme,” he added.

Coach Fredericks, recognized as one of the most committed coaches on island noted that boxing is not just a “radical sport” but one which requires lots of discipline and determination from the athletes to fit into a compact programme.

He said the trademark of a good athlete is being able to balance their training programme with a nutritious diet, and that’s why coaches assist the athletes with their overall preparations.

Fredericks asserted: “As a coach, you have to assess your boxer…as you deal with a boxer as a father, as a brother …and you have to help them know what they can do to excel in the sport.”