SUCKER GARDEN, St. Maarten – ‘You Got Skills’, a boxing initiative of Better Opportunity for Talent (B.O.F.T) Foundation, was this week launched to open up the sport to everyone, especially the youth, in the various districts across the island.
According to BOFT President, Mr. Milton ‘Bobby’ Ottley, the goal of “You Got Skills” is to showcase boxers from the various districts of the island and garner patriotic support from boxing fans within those areas as they come out to cheer their “home” athlete.
But before this is done, Ottley said there will be training sessions for interested persons under the tutelage of St. Martin’s own undefeated champion, veteran boxer Jacob Albert Adams, better known both locally and internationally as ‘Jesse Torres’. Torres, with assistance from Gerard E. Lake called ‘Fa Fa’, will undertake teaching the skills of boxing to all who register under the programme. The clinic has been established at Top Class Fitness Gym on Arrowroot Road, South Reward.
According to Ottley, BOFT is seeking means to organize at least two other gyms in other districts to facilitate the ease of training. There is no age limit for persons wishing to register. They need only call 528-9900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All persons who register must attend an information session at Top Class Fitness Gym on Monday, August 6, 2018, from 5:30pm – 8:00pm where they will receive a full explanation of the programme, as well as the rules and guidelines of the clinic. All applicants must complete a registration form and submit two passport-size photographs, which will allow for them to receive a boxing license in which to document their medical check-ups, among other things.
Those under 18 years old must receive the consent of their parents and the organizers are encouraging parents to attend the information session on Monday in order to get the information and understand fully how the sport works.
“They will be briefed on the use of protective gear, how to protect themselves and punch properly…their footwork and much more,” said Torres, who won all but three of his fights during his years of fighting professionally at home, regionally, and internationally.
He said it is imperative that young people learn the skills of boxing, build stamina, and recognize that boxing is a sport that teaches discipline and how to listen and follow directions. Most training sessions will be scheduled in the evening hours, which will help the body of the boxer to adjust easily when competing, since most tournaments take place at night.
Once persons demonstrate knowledge in the sport, they will become eligible for participation in boxing events. The organizers plan to arrange district tournaments first. Thereafter, the winners from each district will compete in inter-districts matches to determine an overall champion. It is hoped that the first matches will take place prior to this year’s Sint Maarten Day celebrations and the initiative is billed to continue all year long.
According to Ottley, through sponsorship by O & Eric’s Construction Company, they have been able to provide some protective gear for trainees, which will allow them to focus on developing their skills until the athletes are in a position acquire their own private parts protectors, such as cups, as well as headgear, and hand wraps.
The team is also scouting for persons who wish to be trained as referees, judges, and time-keepers. Ottley said discussions are already taking place with international referees both for amateurs and professional. This will save the island revenue, since at the moment, when there are fights locally, referees are flown in to the island.
He is encouraging parents to register their children, both boys and girls, as there is so much they can learn and gain through ‘You Got Skills’. Come August 24 and 25, 2018, the clinic will also be showcased at an Open House being hosted by the Department of Sports and Culture. At that event, children will get an opportunity to see demonstrations of boxing, beat the bag, shown how to skip and position their hands, and get into the ring.