World Boxing Council (WBC) International Referee/Judge William Boodhoo says he is pleased with the administrators and promoters of boxing locally but sees a great need for more public and private sector support.
The Canada-based former Guyana Boxing Board of Control Secretary made the disclosure in an exclusive interview with Stabroek Sport last Saturday night at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.
Boodhoo, who witnessed Saturday night’s ProAm boxing card at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall said he visited several gyms in the city but was more impressed with the work done by the coaches at the Forgotten Youth Foundation Gym which, he opined, was in need of a facelift and equipment.
According to the former professional boxer turned official, boxing is the sport which has given Guyana its only Olympic Medal to date and most international recognition.
Boodhoo feels that the fistic sport can only bring more glory to the country if the government and the private sector increase financing.
He said he was shocked to see the conditions under which boxers train but felt good to see how determined they were to equip themselves with the necessary skills.
Over at the FYF Gym, Boodhoo said he recognized the lack of proper equipment and electricity to the building which has forced boxers to train early just to catch the sunlight.
However, coaches Seibert Blake and Joseph `Joey’ Murray came in for high praise for their efforts in getting youths off the streets and into the gyms.
Boodhoo said he was impressed with local promoter Carwyn Holland who is leading the drive to bring international fights to Guyana.
He was also pleased with the merging of the Guyana Amateur Boxing Association, the Guyana Boxing Board of Control and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports to stage monthly Pro-Am Cards in Georgetown.
Boodhoo said he was impressed with the efforts displayed by the boxers on show last Saturday night and said such initiative will only give the amateurs more exposure.
“Guyanese boxers have always had to deal with the challenge of facing more seasoned and experienced fighters with over 300 plus amateur fights under their belts and the current monthly fights will help build their record and give them the much needed experience”, he posited.
Boodhoo was born in Guyana on April 12 1941 but migrated to Trinidad and Tobago with his parents in 1952. He lived in Trinidad and Tobago for 10 years, starting his amateur career in the twin island republic.
But after a few successful outings he decided to turn professional.
His first three fights were wins in six round affairs against credible opponents and this caught the attention of Fred Bowman, a Guyanese promoter and owner of the People’s Parlour at the corner of Bent & Louisa Row who was in Trinidad at the time doing business.
Bowman lured Boodhoo back home to Guyana for a fight with the popular Claude Meusa who was labeled as the uncrowned bantamweight champion.
Boodhoo lost the close fight after a disputed decision was given and immediately the rematch was inked to settle the scores.
Boodhoo returned and lost the Meusa rematch but won against Frank Stewart in his next bout.
He kept plying his trade between Guyana and Trinidad with mixed success until he decided to call it quits in 1967 when his first son was born and he returned to live in Guyana.
Boodhoo hung up his gloves and joined the board under the presidency of Fred Ramprashad. Leslie Allen was a Vice-President and Bill Brown was Secretary at the time. He was trained as a Referee/Judge and officiated in both professional and amateur fights.
The most memorable fight Boodhoo has officiated in to date was between local stars Lennox Beckles and Vernon Lewis. He also officiated around the region and was soon named secretary of the GBBC
After spending a few years as board secretary, Boodhoo was coaxed to enter boxing promotions by the most prominent promoter at the time Keith Bazilio and together they formed the People’s Syndicate Promotions. He was instrumental in several local boxers getting international fights and titles under the Syndicate banner but migrated to Canada in 1994.
There he tried to stay out of professional boxing and started to train amateur fighters for a few years. However, because of his previous work promoting the World Boxing Council and implementing its rules while he was on the Guyana Boxing Board, the late Aruba born founder of the Caribbean Boxing Federation (CABOFE) and member of the WBC Lloyd Roy Van Putten appointed Boodhoo as a bout supervisor for several title fights in Guyana. He then attended the first ever World Ring Officials Congress in Las Vegas in 2000 and has never missed a convention since. He is now serving on the board of the Caribbean Boxing Federation of which Peter Abdool is the President.
Boodhoo who officiated in two CABOFE title fights in Trinidad two weeks ago returned to Canada on Monday.