By Boxing Bob Newman
This morning in St. Thomas, USVI, events got off to a start as a warm-up to tomorrow’s “Class of 2008″ fight show, promoted by 340 Promotions. 340 CEO Lesley Comissiong opened the proceedings by introducing the event’s emcee, world renowned ring announcer Bob Alexander, who then in turn introduced the participants, which included Anibal Miramontes, president of FightFax (the boxing records entity recognized by the ABC), esteemed ring officials Levi Martinez and Dr. Ruben Garcia, world class referee Roberto Ramirez Sr.
Miramontes was brought in as an advisor to the revamped USVI boxing & wrestling commission, which had been dormant since the last boxing activity on the islands back in 2003. Miramontes then introduced the USVI commission president John Flemming who welcomed the attendees and expressed his hope for consistent activities in the months and years to come.
Martinez and Garcia conducted the ring officials seminar. Several up and coming ring officials from the USVI attended the seminar. The first portion concerned judging. Everything from becoming certified with the ABC, scoring criteria, championship scoring rules, to tips on how to be at one’s optimal condition before judging a fight were presented.
Ramirez Sr. of San Juan, Puerto Rico then conducted a refereeing seminar. Such topics as assessment of points deduction for fouls, intervention of ring physician for head butts or other injuries, returning lost mouthpieces, various counting issues for knockdowns, administering pre-fight rules to both boxers in dressing rooms,and overall safety were discussed.
Judge Martinez then conducted an exercise which involved scoring select rounds of the third fight between Rafael Marquez and Israel Vasquez. Their were varied results among the participants’ scores. Each scorer was required to explain their reasoning for their scores in each round. Incidentally, Marquez scored a knockdown of Vasquez in the fourth, but not all the participants of this exercise gave him a 10-8 round. Some scored it 10-9 based on their perception that Vasquez was doing well overall in the round outside of suffering the knockdown.
A fifty question officials test was administered to the participants after the proceedings were concluded. This test was similar to that administered by the ABC and will be used to evaluate the competence and knowledge of the participants.
340 Promotions partner Sampson Lewkowicz expressed the importance of the seminars in shaping the boxing public’s perception of the Virgin Islands and their competence in officiating fights.