Amateur boxing is not as popular as it used to be but with an influx of officials, Charles Gill, chairman of the Referees and Judges Commission, believes this can help the Barbados Boxing Association (BBA) in the quest to develop the sport.
Gill, an International Boxing Association (AIBA) star one referee of four years standing said last year in March he along with Jason Cadogan conducted a six months training course every Saturday for referees and judges.
Even though not satisfied with the response to the course, as only eight persons attended and three completed, Gill is hoping that those numbers would improve the next time around as they seek to recruit.
Unfortunately, the course planned for March this year was forced to be cancelled because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In fact, that is not all that the COVID-19 postponed as Gill was unable to do his AIBA Star Two certification this year.
“Amateur boxing is not an extremely popular sport now. It was popular and it used to be popular. So, we are looking to get it back to that level and expand even beyond what it used to be.
“Initially, the course last year was supposed to be three months but then after the three months had gone we just continued to six. We looked at referees, judges, we covered the rules in totality and we also had some practical experience as well. After the theory, we would take the referee judges to the National gym at the Stadium and we worked on positioning, walking, simulation dealing with the rules. We had a couple of boxers in the ring and they would go through the paces of actually creating fouls and letting the trainees call them,” Gill said.
He added: “Not satisfied at all with the response. We initially had about eight names, but it pretty much dwindled down to three people who completed the course. We had issues with work, people not getting the time to attend from work because it was held on Saturday evenings. So, some people were still working and we had trouble with attendance.”
A former national basketball player, Gill explained that there isn’t just a shortage of referees but officials generally for boxing.
He said the more officials they are, the better and more efficiently boxing cards will run in Barbados. According to Gill, in recent times the disruption to boxing has been taken care of but more officials are still needed.
“We need not just referees but officials in general. They are a lot of things that we are looking to put in place in boxing. Couple of years ago, t, there was a lot of inefficiency with how the programs were conducted. We had local cards and sometimes people would take five minutes or more to get to the ring. There was a lot of disruption taking place in the running of a card.
“So, one of the things we focused on was implementing the regulation to cut down on all those inefficiencies. Making sure that the boxers get to the ring when their names are announced within a minute. Or they are disqualified. Making sure the protective gears are in place, helmet, shoes, everything. Ensuring that the medicals are run efficiently and more smoothly.
“Time as well was an issue. So, if a card is supposed to start at six, we expect the boxers to be there at least an hour before boxing is supposed to begin. At that time the medical takes place then or in the morning. But whenever it is conducted we look to make sure it is run smoothly and efficiently. So, the more officials we have the better. There are still a few areas that we need officials to be trained,” Gill said.