Posts Tagged ‘Malta Boxing Federation’
by Alexander Zammit
On Saturday the 19th July, the Malta Boxing Federation, Malta’s Olympic Boxing Body organised a long overdue boxing night. During the course of the evening I developed serious reservations about who is really in control of this local boxing body.
I recently attended a boxing show organised by the Malta Boxing Federation, (Malta’s official Olympic boxing body) held at the university sports hall at tal- Qroqq and was pleasantly surprised to find what appeared to be a fairly well organised show, new faces in the ring, ring officials who albeit inexperienced, looked smart, sharp and keen to do a good job. Another nice surprise was the crowd which seemed to be composed of families.
I do not think that it would be fair to comment on the level of the young boxers participating in this event. Many of these youngsters were having their first experience in the ring and what they lacked in technique they more than made up for in their enthusiasm.
On an even more positive note was the participation of three Sicilian boxers, making this event rather special as it has been more than a few years since Maltese Olympic Boxing has seen foreign participation, locally.
And to finish off the list of positives before I tackle the subject matter of this article’s title, I must mention that I was impressed by the level of sportsmanship that prevailed throughout the evening, including club officials accepting without complaint what were obviously erroneous decisions by the young and inexperienced officials.
This night should have been an important milestone in the rejuvenation of the local Olympic Boxing scene but was unfortunately marred by the presence of local professional boxing promoters lurking in the background and in the boxers changing rooms and at one point even venturing into the ring itself as seconds.
The local Olympic Boxing Federation has on more than one occasion been reprimanded by the International Boxing Association (AIBA – the world ruling body for Olympic Boxing and the World Series of Boxing) for ignoring the rules and on more than a few occasions Malta was banned from this Olympic side of the sport because of renegade members and its inability to control what happens within its own ranks.
Rules and regulations are there for a reason and in this case they are there not only to protect the Olympic status of the sport but also to offer a safer environment for youths and children participating in this sport under the banner of the MBF, which is the AIBA representative in the Maltese Islands.
It is unfortunately a Maltese trait to think that there is one set of rules for the rest of the world and a different version for Malta.
Professional boxing promoter, Mr. Demis Tonna of “Prize Boxing Promotions” and Mr.Marc James, Secretary General of the Malta Boxing Council (which claims membership of the World Boxing Council), most definitely had no business being either in the changing rooms or the ring area, throughout the event. This is not in any way a reflection on these gentlemen’s characters but their presence or even indirect participation was simply a violation of both the rules of the Malta Boxing Federation and the International Boxing Association. Therefore, it is a negative reflection on the MBF’s part that as the sanctioning body for this event, it failed to ensure that the applicable rules were observed.
From my point of view what I witnessed seems to indicate the possibility that the MBF is not fully in control of its organization. The MBF has to get its act together and promote an environment which is suitable for youth, children& young adults, in line with their own statutes and those of the AIBA.
I was greatly surprised whilst talking with the young boxers and their relatives, to learn, that many of them have no idea of what AIBA boxing stands for as opposed to boxing under other non Olympic organizations. In the past this has led numerous young people in Malta being pushed to enter the local professional boxing arena, with just a few amateur bouts under their belt. As a result many talented youngsters unknowingly lost their Olympic status and the possibility of representing Malta under the Olympic banner.
Photo: Mr. Demis Tonna
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The former president of the Malta Boxing Federation Mr. Anthony Willoughby has passed away
Mr. Willoughby’s accomplishments during his life time includes a career as an accomplished football and water-polo referee. However in later years his name became synonymous with local amateur boxing having held the positions of both Secretary General and President of the MBF. In 2009 he was instrumental in Malta rejoining the International Boxing Association and the first ever Maltese participation in the AIBA world boxing championships.
Malta Boxing News offers its condolences and sympathy to the family and friends of one of Malta’s greatest boxing stalwarts.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Read the rest of this entry »
Although local media does not give much coverage to Olympic Boxing or the international achievements of Maltese Olympic Boxers, we in fact have a small number of Maltese boxers who are achieving success on the continent.
Foremost amongst Malta’s top Olympic Boxers is 24 year old Haithem Laamouz, with no less than 50 fights – 41 wins of which only four of these encounters were with local opposition the rest being against opponents from the UK, Italy, Sweden, Denmark and a number of other countries. Laamouz has also won a number of top Olympic Boxing Events.
Haithem started his international boxing career in 2009 in Limassol Cyprus and later that year participated in the Milan, AIBA world championships, in November of 2009 Haithem had his first taste of success when he got gold in an England vs. Malta club tournament, in 2010 he made the quarter finals at the prestigious Mohamed IV tournament in Morocco. At this point in time the Maltese Olympic Boxing Federation was suspended by the AIBA and Haithem had to take up residence in London to allow him to pursue his boxing career. Under the tutelage of Steve Walters and Julian Borg, in 2010 Haithem made it to the finals of the famous Haringey Cup and in the UK 2010 – 2011 boxing season won seven of his next nine matches and in June of 2012 he became London Champion and quarter finalist in the English national boxing championships, in May of 2012 he made the finals at a multi nation club tournament in Ireland, then in June of 2012 he won the finals of the multi nation Haringey Cup, club tournament, in 2013 he won four matches and got Gold at the Sweden box cup, Uppsala region and the Sweden box cup, Orebro region, then in June he defeated elite Swiss champion Meuli Zino.
(Photo Haithem Laamouz)
In August of 2013 the Malta Boxing Federation, was readmitted to the AIBA and Haithem was once again boxing officially for Malta. In September of 2013 Haithem won the Falcon Cup in Sweden defeating Kabir Mierabi with a 2nd round tko and Simon Svense in the finals also with a 2nd round tko (Malta Today Report). In November of 2013 he won a club tournament in Sicily by a 3rd round KO and in the same month he defeated Osman Ntuvev and Mohamed al Maliki to win the Swedish, King of the Ring Tournament.
Haithem’s next fight will be in Denmark on the 8th of February when he will face the Danish 64KG Olympic Boxing champion Ahmed Khattab.
Malta Boxing News – 2014
Former Commonwealth and Empire boxing champion Scott Dixon seems to be down for the count. The former champ who has been residing in Malta for some years seems determined to make the front pages of our local news papers for all the wrong reasons.
According to local press reports Dixon, was recently arraigned in court for breaching bail conditions arising from drug trafficking charges in October of 2009.
Dixon, along with five other suspects, Jovica Kolakovic, 52, born of Serbia UK resident, Tomas Mikalauskas of Lithuania, also residing in the UK, Sheri Anne Steedman, 38 and Jason Lee Holland, 39 from the UK, and Maltese national Kevin Sammut, 28, was charged by the Malta police with conspiracy to import and traffic cannabis. Dixon pleaded not guilty.
In the recent arraignment Dixon was charged with breaching his bail conditions over forty times. Dixon citing mental and alcoholic problems as part of his defense, managed to retain his freedom, albeit under much tougher conditions, which limits his freedom to the St Julian’s area were he resides.
However it seems that Dixons woes are far from being over. The once popular figure on the local boxing scene is clearly being rejected by the local community.
A recent local celebrity boxing show being promoted by ‘Dixon Promotions’ in aid of a local children’s charity was refused the necessary permits to go ahead. All traces of the Dixon name, photos and other paraphernalia have been removed from his former gym and un-confirmed reports indicate that negotiations by his promotional company to bring to Malta a leading boxing celebrity have also met with failure. To cap it all Malta Boxing News have confirmed reports that Dixon was recently caught working as a fitness instructor in a local St Julian’s hotel, without the necessary work permits.
Official local boxing organizations have made it clear that neither Dixon nor his promotional company, are in any way connected to them.
Malta Boxing Commission, President – Mr. Alexander Zammit, explained that Dixon organizes unsanctioned boxing and does not hold a license to practice boxing at any level from the local boxing commission. Dixon was also banned by the Amateur Malta Boxing Federation, in October of 2009.
The Commission went on to explain that the criteria for becoming a member of the local boxing body are very tough and affiliated promoters holding activities must adhere to the highest international standards and provide insurance for all participants, more over proper licensed boxing athletes have to undergo stringent medical tests at least once a year before they are issued or reissued with a license which allows them to participate in the sport at the local and international level.
Boxing Commission President, Alexander Zammit, said; “The Maltese boxing fans deserver better, over the next few weeks plans will be unveiled which will ensure that the local fans will be able to enjoy high caliber sanctioned events, with top level boxing athletes from all over the world, on a regular bases”.
It seems clear that Scott Dixon is down and the countdown has started to end an era of local unsanctioned boxing tournaments, which have damaged the credibility of this sport in Malta during the last few years.
Original Dixon Favourite News Video Link – 9 Oct 2009 – In Maltese
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