Boxing Takes New Direction In Liberia
Boxing is not new to Liberia, however, the multimillion-dollar sport has been dormant for many years, but with some noticeable changes arriving, boxing in Liberia is expected to take a new direction.
The Liberia Boxing Association (LBA) now has a new president, Mr. Jonathan Wade, and the Association recently appointed two new Ambassadors to raise awareness and bring much-needed attention to the growth and development of the sport.
Professional welterweight boxer Freddy “Pretty Boy” Kiwitt was appointed Global Ambassador with longtime TV presenter/journalist and CEO of The Monrovia Times Prince Michael serving as International Goodwill Ambassador
Speaking in an interview with The Monrovia Times, LBA President Jonathan Wade said the recently appointed officials will help the association;
Seek good standing with mother boxing organization.
Build positive relationships with local authorities (ie. MYS and LNOC).
Participate in international events.
Train athletes and officials.
Seek local and international corporate sponsors.
Construct facilities and procure equipment.
Establish boxing clubs across Liberia.
Host local or international tournaments.
Create professional boxers (at least 3).
Mr. Wade said in order to help the association achieve its objectives, the association has instituted a weekly awareness program in Monrovia.
“During the program, Amateur boxers go on the street on Saturdays to perform and talk to people. For the first time, we have had our own office in the boxing gym. We have also managed to raise money individually to pay for our annual subscription with Aiba. The street awareness has been funded by us (i.e. the executive members of the LBA and the Amateur boxers).”
Wade said in the over 20 years history of Liberian boxing, the Association has not been able to acquire a professional boxing ring even though one was donated to the Association by Charity organization name “Boxing is Love,” but said due to bureaucracy and custom at the Freeport of Monrovia, the ring has been sitting in a container in the port for many months because the association can’t afford to clear it.
When contacted “Boxing is Love” director Jason Scalzo said the donation was a gesture of partnership between the two organizations.
“As a gesture of partnership, our organization has donated a proper professional-grade boxing ring that can be used for competition at both the amateur and professional level.” — Jason Scalzo (“Boxing Is Love” Executive Director)
The president of the Liberian Boxing Association said the biggest challenge so far for the association is finance.
“The biggest challenge so far is finance. We do not have any financial support from anywhere – neither the central government nor any sports organization”
According to Wade, the Association has 3 female boxers, 17 kids and 13 amateur boxers who are training and hoping to become future boxers of Liberia.
As for Global Ambassador Freddy Kiwitt, The professional fighter has been an advocate for developing the sport in Liberia. He even participated in a boxing mission with Boxing is Love and Save More Kids. Most recently, the Liberian boxer won a match in Accra, Ghana against Ghanaian Frank Dodzi.
Kiwitt has high hopes and big plans for the sport in Liberia.
“I want to plan an amateur event in Liberia,” he shares.
He even has his eyes on the African title. For now, Kiwitt is focusing on his career and using his platform to promote boxing in Liberia.
Recently, a Gofundme was organized by the Association International Goodwill Ambassador Prince Michael who said proceed from the Gofundme will go towards the renovation of the LBA only gymnasium on Broad Street
Mr. Michael said part of the proceeds will be used to acquire boxing materials such as boxing gloves, punching pads, punching bags, speedballs, training equipment, mouth guard and if the required amount is raised, a mobile boxing ring to bring boxing to the people.
”I was in Monrovia in December and I saw the deplorable conditions the gym was in. There are potholes in the floor, the kids are training in a makeshift ring, the roof is leaking when it rains and there are no equipment or materials to train with. Boys and girls have to share boxing gloves which for me is unhygienic and disappointing. I just hope we can all make a donation and let us for the first time developed a sector without waiting for the government to do it.” he said.
With these officials on board, one can only hope the much-needed limelight will once again shine on Liberian boxing.
If you want to donate to the LBA, the link is: https://www.gofundme.com/help-save-the-liberia-boxing-association