Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Mullings calls for more transparency from JBA

Published:Wednesday | May 17, 2023 | 1:36 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Sakima Mullings
Sakima Mullings
Jamaica Boxing Association General Secretary Leroy Brown
Jamaica Boxing Association General Secretary Leroy Brown

FORMER CONTENDER Boxing series champion Sakima Mullings is calling for more transparency from the Jamaica Boxing Association (JBA) when it comes to the selection of boxers for international tournaments and applying for promoter’s licences.

Mullings argues that the selection process in recent times has been shrouded in secrecy and that young aspiring fighters are unaware of what is required to make a national team.

“Where is the transparency? What has happened to the selection process in terms of getting on the national team? Athletes are going on to represent Jamaica internationally and we do not know what is the selection process,” he complained.

“I do not have an issue with the athletes going away. But how do you motivate the next generation to say this is what you need to do to get on the national team?

“You have to make the process transparent if you are asking kids to do boxing and try to get on the national team. They will ask what is the process. Or is it that you just want them to continue and hope they get picked?”

Mullings also says that with the JBA’s inability to consistently put on competitions, and with the apparent success of the Wray & Nephew Contender series, proving there is a market for boxing in Jamaica, the organisation should open avenues for Jamaicans to become promoters.

“The board cannot take on the responsibility of promoting fights but there is a transparency issue with the promoter’s licence. How does the average Jamaican apply for a promoter’s licence and under what rules and regulations and responsibility to the board?” he asked.

He noted that there are many backdoor and exhibitions street fights taking place locally and the licence should be readily available to safeguard, especially the children involved.

“A culture is developing where the promoter’s licence is so difficult to get that people are bypassing the licence and just hosting fights.

“These unsanctioned and unregulated fights are happening but there is a level of apprehension to have kids participate in them because they are not regulated.

“With those fights it becomes a gift and a curse. You want children to participate in front of an audience but you want these things to be regulated by the board to make sure all the rules are followed to keep the fighters safe.

“So why can’t a person who wants to get regulated and be compliant just get on a website and do this the right way and get their promoter’s licence?” he asked again.

General secretary of the JBA Leroy Brown noted the national championship is the main source of choosing fighters for international competitions, but they haven’t been able to host one since 2019 on account of COVID-19.

Also having the national gym (stanley couch) in disrepair has added to their troubles.

Nevertheless, he said the JBA had been using the reigning national champions to in international competitions and will continue to do so until they can have a national championship.

‘We are trying to get something going but one of the problems we are having is that our national gym needs a lot of money for repairs.

“We are trying to get the funds and we are also looking at alternate venues. In the meantime, the people who we send out are current champions in the various divisions,” he explained.

According to Brown, the JBA is attempting to host a national championship this year.

“We had hope to have it this month but it is the matter of financing. We need about $2 million to get the gym back in operation. But we are definitely looking to have a championship this year, no matter how far down the road,” Brown promised.

On the matter of promoter’s licences, Brown insists the information is readily available to those who want it, and that all one has to do is get in touch with the association and make an application and they will be guided through the requirements and the process from there.

“But you have to have money to promote. And if you want to promote you have to convince us that you are serious. In the past, we have brought in aspiring promoters and they failed because they had no money.

“Some say the requirements are too big because we are dealing with the safety of the boxers. But we cannot afford to fool around. But the information is available and once you have the wherewithal we will work with you,” said Brown.