Taureano Johnson advocates special funding for athletes
Published: May 02, 2013
Taureano Johnson is at a sobering stage of his life. A professional boxer with the potential to become a world champion, Johnson is now looking at the big picture regarding the Bahamian sports industry and speaking out.
He has been communicating with me and there are two positions he holds onto dearly. Johnson advocates strongly for a national lottery that would financially empower sports as well as culture, education etc. The former Olympian is also of the view that the time has come for those responsible to begin the process of getting boxing into the school system. I wholeheartedly support his position on a national lottery. I believe also that all core sports should be placed inside of the school system. The structure of boxing would be very challenging however, in particular, getting parents to sign agreement forms for their young boys and girls to participate.
We might not be that mature in sports, as a nation, just yet. I would point out here though that female boxing is widely accepted around the world. Members of the fairer sex have now made their way into the Olympics. So, Johnson is not far-fetched. Let me give you a bit of a backdrop on the finest amateur boxer in Bahamian history.
On the evening of February 22, Taureano Johnson faced another undefeated fighter, Willie Fortune (15-0). It was his first real test as a professional. Johnson came away with a decision win over eight rounds. At 29, he proudly can boast a 14-0 win/loss record but he must be a bit reserved. Johnson is getting to that age at which point, title opportunities become limited. At his present pace, the Bahamian middleweight will earn a shot at one of the variety of world titles now available, most certainly.
However, he must know that there is little room for failure. Johnson was determined to fight as an amateur for an extended period. In the west, he is an exception to the rule. He graced world amateur rings for The Bahamas until 2009 before he went professional. The high mark of his amateur career came at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when he just barely missed a bronze medal but was ultimately adjudged the fifth best amateur welterweight in the world.
He is now though, a boxer of hope, developing also into an activist. I applaud his stance. While other athletes privately yearn for a lottery or some other form of extra revenue for the national sports program, he is the first one to be prepared to go on record with his view. He is courageous in the ring. Now we see that Johnson has the guts to speak out despite knowing that he is going against the grain.
Well, he is another voice added to the producer of this column. Especially with the economy crashing around us all, a national lottery seems to be the answer. Best wishes, Taureano!
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