Yesteryear when professional officiating certificates were not required, boxing in The Bahamas still was afforded quality personnel such as George “Boo” Wilmore, Cyril Smith and Nelson Chipman. Former middleweight champion Sammy Isaacs also engaged in officiating at times upon his retirement.
They presided over orderly bouts and visiting boxing folks admired their work in the ring.
In recent times, the officiating rank in the country has not been upscaled as before. Over the last decade or so, Matthew Rolle, Talbert Wells, Greg Storr have been reliable, and available for the bulk of the refereeing during boxing shows in New Providence.
The Bahamas Boxing Commission, in its discretion, has waived their lack of certificates with the understanding that an inspector would be in place at all times, to monitor the refereeing.
It’s not the ideal situation, but one that small countries find themselves having to accept. Accordingly, there is full recognition on the pro boxing scene in the country that referees must be brought up to scratch, to the point of being certified and capable of performing duties in any world jurisdiction.
To that extent, for the Commonwealth Boxing Salute event in Freeport during the Independence Week (July 11-13), the Grand Bahama Sports Promotion Association (GBSPA) is sponsoring the presence of Jamaican certified international professional referee/judge Leroy Brown and amateur certified official Alvin Sargent to conduct an officiating seminar in conjunction with the salute and awards presentation to former Commonwealth boxing champions Gomeo Brennan, Ray Minus Jr., Steve Larrimore and Jermain Mackey.
Sargent, a long-time official on the amateur world circuit is of the mindset now to make the jump into the professional rank. There used to be a situation whereby amateur officials were not allowed to partake in professional events.
That’s no longer a hard and fast rule and Sargent said on Wednesday that he welcomes the upcoming officiating seminar to lend his experience and background to aspiring boxing officials and also to take the step into the professional category.
“I’m acceptable to that. I have held off for years but the way the amateur scene is now, it has changed and is almost overlapping in some cases. There are amateur tournaments from which boxers are paid and that is endorsed by the international amateur boxing body.
“So, yes, this is a great opportunity for me to cover both grounds. I will network with Mr. Brown, who I know quite well, and do what is necessary to have an application sent in for professional refereeing/judge certification,” said Sargent.
He urged all others across the country who are interested, to find their way to Freeport for the Commonwealth Boxing Salute to get some officiating training in a formal setting.
•To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com or on WhatsApp at 727-6363.