The national boxing gym is next to the Sports Commission, on Broad Street in Monrovia. A signboard announces to the visitor what is done there with significant finality: BABY JOE’S HOUSE OF PAIN.
While the signboard evidently remembers one of Liberia’s boxing coaches, it nonetheless emphasizes, after a brief visit to the gym, what is all wrong in developing an effective boxing program to complement the country’s youth who are bent on improving on their image as boxers.
“We train every day and every year,” commented welterweight George Henchman, “but nothing good happens to boxing and as a result it is dragged to the ground.”
While Henchman’s statement tells in clear terms the ugly fate of boxing in Liberia, he hopes for proper material and financial support this year and what cannot be lost on us is the failure of the Liberia Boxing Association to have joined the fight against Ebola virus disease due to current ineffective administration.
“If no one is interested in boxing,” Henchman told the Daily Observer during unannounced visit yesterday morning, “we are still here and praying that something positive could happen this year.” Though he has only hope of any positive change, sports officials have complained that the insidious Ebola virus disease has affected Liberia’s progress in several fronts, including support to sports.
Reports have also indicated that even the U$500,000.00 previously allocated to the national soccer team, Lone Star, is halved, leading LFA officials to express challenges that are inherent in the team’s progress.
Though boxing, like track and field, taekwondo, lawn tennis and table tennis, never received adequate financial support from past governments and that unfairness has continued to today, the brazen neglect of boxing has made many a boxing fan to wonder why.
Sports officials are unable to give reason about the poor financial support to boxing, along with others considered as minor sports. And this suggests the clear neglect of those responsible to ensure that boxing too gains respect in Liberia.
To imagine that Liberia as a nation does not have a boxing ring for its boxers to practice their sport is to question the responsibility of those charged to develop the sport. For the last three years, boxing has remained dormant in Liberia in every aspect of the game. “There used to be many boxers here,” Henchman told the Observer, “now they have all abandoned training.” Except those diehard ones, Henchman noted, who still hope something good could come in the end. Hence, the aptly described ‘House of Shame’ that at least should awaken somebody at the Ministry of Youth & Sports to provide some answers to boxer George Henchman and his colleagues about why the repeated neglect of boxing. And for God’s sake, don’t blame Ebola for this one, please!!!
“We’re in a new year,” Henchman said, “and we don’t know if someone will listen to us and get us a boxing ring and other necessary gear.” And it is a wonder if the Ministry of Youth & Sports knows about the future of boxing in 2015.