KEITH SCOTLAND, MP for Port of Spain South, and boxing promoter Boxu Potts both see positives in the initiative in Sea Lots, where boxing bouts have reportedly been staged in the community.
Social media clips went viral over the weekend showing seemingly amateur fighters in gloves slugging it out in a boxing ring.
Scores of excited spectators surrounded the ring cheering each blow.
No referee is seen in any of the clips, and most bouts ended only when a boxer fell to the canvas.
In one of the clips, one fighter looks to have been knocked out but still standing. However, his opponent quickly delivers a crunching blow to his head to send him sprawling to the ground.
On Tuesday, the Boxing Board of Control (TTBBC) said in a media release that boxing contests must be regulated by the board and may only take place under strict protocols that ensure competitor safety, supervised by trained, certified practitioners.
“These protocols also require, in part, the presence of trained medical personnel during the contest, medical examination of competitors before and after each contest, and the notification to the district police station that an event is to be held,” said the TTBBC.
The TTBBC said under the Boxing Control Act it is charged with regulating boxing contests, and had not permitted the bouts seen on social media.
"The TTBBC further wishes to advise that in the present pandemic, no boxing contest will be sanctioned where the current public health regulations prohibit contact sport of any kind," it warned.
Scotland said on Tuesday that he saw the unsanctioned bouts on social media, but was not entirely apprised of the situation.
But he commented, “Under the right and proper circumstances, that can only benefit the entire community as a whole. Under the right protocols, that is something that I, certainly, will be involved in.”
Potts is fully supportive of the venture, once covid19 protocols are observed.
“I think it will spread and it will improve boxing throughout TT,” Potts said. “The people who are investing in that boxing are doing it community-based and it will evolve into something great. It doesn’t have the politics in it. It is a community coming together and investing in themselves, and you can’t beat that."
“I see a lot of people are speaking out against it, so it’s nothing strange.
"When you have a 36-year-old man representing us at the Olympics, and countries who don’t get funds to do boxing development are sending more boxers to the Olympics, we have a large problem.”
Potts is in favour of communities asking for their own funds to develop the sport.
He added, “I will support in any way that I can, to give expertise and equipment. It’s a great vision for boxing, for long as the protocols are observed and the law is abided, I am comfortable. There is nothing that can stop anybody from training, or sparring, in their community.
“Something has been done and all they need to do is put a proper structure to it and let it run. It’s nothing to shut down, it’s something to develop. We must see the police running (into Sea Lots) with medals to give them, for the great work that they’re doing.”