Sep 22, 2011 Sports
Opines Michael Benjamin
Years ago, when USA Television Network, HBO presented the popular Tuesday night fights, Guyanese of all walks of life ensured that they allocated that time to be in front of their television sets.
Since the USA is a melting pot the local audience was privy to talent that was not only American but emanated from around the globe.
The Tuesday night fights served several purposes and if one cares to reflect he/she will realize that many of the great fights coming out of the USA had a foundation from the Tuesday Night fights.
That initiative has since been aborted but the exciting bouts witnessed these days are a direct spring off of the Tuesday Night Fights.
Those that enjoyed the intense battles during those days would have felt heartened when President of the Guyana Boxing Board of Control ((GBBC), Peter Abdool huddled with his executives and fleshed out a similar innovation for local pugilists.
The inaugural card was staged in February 2010 and has been a monthly feature since.
Admittedly, the large crowds expected at the venue have not yet materialized but while a scientific evaluation is yet to be conducted, a random survey has indicated that the fights are viewed by a wide television audience.
Coupled with that, one cannot refute the strides made by boxers in both the amateur and professional fraternity, evident by the numerous titles some have won and the regular salary, albeit minimal, these pugilists have earned.
Boxers in the amateur fraternity have also benefitted from the initiative and the bronze medals won at several international outings may just be the spinoff of the ProAm initiative.
It means that the gold medals could be achieved but with painstaking work on the part of the boxers and support on the part of the paying public.
The corporate community must be hailed for their staunch support even in the face of the negativities of the naysayer and the stifled economy.
Next Friday, the September edition of the cards will once again be staged at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH) and the main attraction between Simeon Hardy and Winston Pompey should produce some fireworks.
Both pugilists are working hard at their respective gyms and as usual they are trading barbs. That apart, the contrasting styles should make for a good contest and fans should make it a date to be at the venue.
The Bajan thunderbolt, Miguel Antoine, has enjoyed a successful run so far defeating Mark Austin, Shawn Pyle and Cecil Smith and has wormed his way to the hearts of local supporters.
Jermaine King has vowed to halt his winning streak and his serious approach to his training is indeed indicative of his intentions.
Otherwise, there are two debutants in Shaheed Ali and Kelsie George who tackles Charlton Skeete and Troy Lewis respectively.
These are two pugilists fresh out of the amateur ranks and they will obviously bring the excitement attributed to this genre of boxers into the bout.
One cannot fault the rock bottom admission fee of $1,000 for adults and $500 for children for such a package but even without considering the action packed encounters in store, Guyanese should come out in their numbers to support their future champions that are using the ProAm boxing cards to facilitate a smooth transition onto the international arena.
The benefits to all stakeholders may not be immediately apparent but like the now defunct USA Tuesday night Fights, the local initiative may blossom out to be the catalyst for the world acclaim of local pugilists in years or possibly months ahead.
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