By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
AFTER spending the past four months in Budapest, Hungary, former professional boxer turned coach Valentino Knowles is delighted to return home as a certified international amateur boxing coach.
“Going into the course, I was already set boxing wise from the athletic experience that I had and the ring knowledge,” said Knowles, who engaged in the International Olympic Committee’s International Course September 4 to December 4. “So I have this course to add to my experience. It was more of a scientific background of the sport. I was more focused on the science part of boxing.”
During the course, Knowles said he participated in sports physiology, general conducting, sports sociology and training theory, including how to organise a proper training plan and how to implement intensity and volume in training.
While the course, organised by the Bahamas Olympic Committee through the IOC, was offered before to other sporting personalities in other disciplines, Knowles was the first boxer in the Bahamas to engage in the high level training.
“It’s awesome to have this certification to add to my credentials,” said Knowles, who also holds a minor regional certification in boxing. “Now I can say I’m a well-rounded coach. I just have to take my time and put what I’ve learnt into practice so that I can help to raise the level of boxing in the country to a much higher level with the up and coming boxers.”
By far the most decorated Bahamian amateur boxer as a super featherweight before he turned pro on November 12, 2013, Knowles said he’s pleased with the strides he’s making, considering the fact that he has only been in the coaching realm for the past year. After getting shot as a bystander in Kemp Road on Saturday, January 19, 2014, Knowles quit his brief pro career that saw him win his second straight fight a year later on January 12, 2015 and turned his sights on helping prepare the amateur boxers. He has since been employed by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to run the National Boxing Ring in the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.
“Since I got back, I’ve already started showing off what I’ve learnt to the guys who come out to the gym,” Knowles said.
Additionally, he will also be working with national coach Andre Seymour to prepare the Bahamian boxers in their bid to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The boxers, who all qualified during the Amateur Boxing Federation of the Bahamas Olympic box off, are Keishno Major, Rasheild Williams and Ronald Woodside. Carl Hield didn’t have to compete as there was no boxer to challenge him.
“We haven’t fully organised everything yet. We have started training for our general preparation with them coming here every afternoon,” Knowles said. “So they will be preparing here with me and Andre up until sometime in January when they will go to Cuba because of the lack of fighters here to help them in their sparring and the lack of support from the other gyms to utilise the other boxers that we do have.”
The boxers will be gearing up for a trip to the Dominican Cup in the Dominican Republic in February and then they will attend the first Olympic qualifying tournament in Argentina in March.
“With the elite boxers, I will need to go with them because I had the experience where I had a coach, who was your coach, but I was in Cuba training with another coach,” Knowles said. “Then you have to come back home and travel to the competition with the national coach, who wasn’t a part of the training in Cuba. So I will have to at some point have to travel to Cuba when they do their sparring so I can look at exactly what they are doing and how I can get them to do the same thing when they go to the international competitions.”
In the meantime, Knowles said he also intends to launch his own amateur boxing club, which he will call the “After Shock.” The goal, according to Knowles, will be to “shake our generation in a new direction” and he’s inviting all interested boxers to join him at the National Boxing Centre anytime during the week.
“I want to be here stationed where I can work with these boxers because a lot of time I may not be here because I have to travel with the elite boxers,” Knowles said. “So I want to be able to give back to the local boxers.”
Knowles, 27, said he’s just happy to be back home with his wife Tiffany and daughter, Valentina, and is eager to work with the local amateur boxers.