Boxing in The Bahamas
By Frederick Sturrup
Early reports indicate that organized professional boxing began during the1930s but the sport really took off in the subsequent decade when Charlie Major Sr. returned home from NewYork to take up residence again. The former world class high jumper came up with a challenging approach for the times. He went into the boxing promotion business. He knew that if he could just cement the idea of professional boxing cards in the minds of the Bahamian people.
He started out with a few boxing cards featuring local boxers only. Once there was a good bit of interest in the boxing shows, he then called on his many sports contacts in the United States to assist in connecting him with noted managers, trainers and matchmakers.
The result was a sports revolution. Major Sr. was soon bringing into the country on a regular basis some of the best boxers in the world. He brought to The Bahamas, great ring masters such as Joe Louis, Jimmy Carter, Joe Brown, and Willie Pep. He was responsible for a massive upturn of the general sports profile in the country. Major Sr. was indeed the first Bahamian to provide a regular competitive forum for world elite athletes.
Professional boxing with Major Sr. as the dean of the sport enjoyed glorious eras. Out of the Bahamian boxing environment came Yama Bahama and Gomeo Brennan who blazed an early trail internationally during the 1950’s and 1960’s. The Bahamas became the glamorous television star. Brennan won the British Empire (Commonwealth) middleweight title. Then during the 1970s, Elisha Obed attained the crowning achievement of world champion. He won the World Boxing Council junior middleweight title.
The sport on the professional scene grew from strength to strength.
But for the first three decades of boxing in the country there was not an amateur progamme.
Charlie Major Sr. again figured in another rather pleasant breakthrough for the national sports programme. Former national heavyweight champion Bert Perry came up with the idea and Major Sr. along with Fred Sturrup, Virginius Knowles and Amos Ferguson joined forces to be co-founders of the Amateur Boxing Association of The Bahamas.
The sport was enhanced by the new boxing platform. The amateur programme added new enthusiasm from the inception in 1969. By 1972, The Bahamas had Olympic representatives in middleweight Nat Knowles and welterweight Gary Davis. In 1974, Knowles won the first medal for the country, a silver medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games. In the ensuing years all aspects boxing have gone from strength to strength.
The major boxing organizations functioning in the country are:
The Bahamas Boxing Commission, with full legislated control over professional boxing; the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas (ABFB ) that has sole jurisdiction over amateur boxing and the Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organization (PACBO ) that has its head office based in The Bahamas. PACBO is a regional body that has an agreement with the ABFB to assist in the national development of the amateur program.
The amateur clubs affiliated with the ABFB are:
· Carmichael Knockout Club
· Lionheart Club
· Bahamas Youth Club.
· Cassius Moss Club
· Pinewood Club
· Champions Boxing Club
· Freeport YMCA Club
· Genesis Club
· Yama Bahama PACBO Youth Club
· Inagua Boxing Club