Amateur boxing will take centre stage for the month of January when the Trinidad and Tobago Amateur Boxing Association in collaboration with LAY Management Group [LMG] and the Pearl & Bunty Lara Foundation play host to ‘Tuesday Night Boxing at the Castle’ which punches off at Brian Lara’s residence on Lady Chancellor Hill, Port-of-Spain, tonight.

These ‘fight nights’ will see several top national boxers who are preparing for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, take to the ring to get the much needed competition for the Summer Games in August. Each Tuesday for the next three weeks will see the top boxers, both men and women contest five fights per night.

On the historic launch of such a unique preparatory programme, the West Indian cricket legend revealed that it is his desire to nurture and advance local sports to allow our representatives the best possible chance to compete successfully on the biggest competitive sporting stage.

Lara stated, “Amateur boxing in TT , like many other sports, does not have the sufficient support mechanisms to ensure that the boxers have the environment to truly channel their energies and hard work towards ultimate success in the global ring and herein lies the opportunity to make the difference in the lives of these young men and women. We firmly believe that this can be a great start to revitalise and invigorate the sport to begin building a more attractive and steady environment where the fighters can showcase and sharpen their skills and where more attention will be given to the sport.” The ‘Prince of Port-of-Spain’ also reflected on former stalwart national boxers such as Claude Noel and Leslie ‘Tiger’ Stewart, hailing their many successes on the world stage. “This is what we want our young sportsmen and sportswomen to aspire to… ultimate success in their sporting discipline on a global scale.

And we want to do what we can to provide the nurturing environment that allows our amateur boxers to achieve this,” he added.

Reynold Cox, vice-president Trinidad and Tobago Amateur Boxing Association, expressed pleasure with this latest development and heaped praises on the organisers for seeking the interest of this nation’s young and prospering boxers. Cox stated, “We cannot thank Mr Brian Charles Lara enough for this collaboration.

It is absolutely wonderful that our boxers can have this opportunity and have such a stage to perform on and I hope that more attention will be given to boxing in this way. This Tuesday Night Boxing at the Castle provides a unique, competitive and entertaining means to promoting the sport and we at the Association are committed to doing more of the same for our boxers. I am extremely happy to officially share that we will also be using these matches for national selection for our Olympic team.” Meanwhile, Michael Alexander (60kg) Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and one of the boxers in the main bout tonight was also full of praise for this initiative, “We cannot begin to thank Mr Lara and the Association for this amazing show of support. To have this happen for us, at this time, is like a dream come true and the perfect platform for us leading into the qualifying stages of the Olympics. We are humbled and thankful to all the parties involved.” Additionally, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis, welcomed the initiative and saw this opportunity as a good platform for TT ’s boxers to begin preparations.

“These are the type of events that help motivate and encourage our athletes to push harder,” said the TTO C boss. “Hats off to Brian (Lara) and his team for getting involved in sport beyond cricket because this presents a great opportunity for our young boxers. We spoke recently on this and I was impressed by his plans to host such an event. This augurs well for the sport of boxing leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games and I support such an initiative.”