* Photo by James Whittaker. First Bermuda, then ...?: Nikki Bascome has been hailed as potential world beater by Bermuda Boxing Association president James Marina, but the young fighter needs financial help as does boxing.
* Photo by James Whittaker. First Bermuda, then ...?: Nikki Bascome has been hailed as potential world beater by Bermuda Boxing Association president James Marina, but the young fighter needs financial help as does boxing.
After years of being promised Admiralty House as a home, boxing enthusiasts will now have to look elsewhere.

The venue had been earmarked as the sight for a fully-equipped national gym that could have been a central hub for pros like Teresa Perozzi and rising young stars like Nikki Bascome to get access to the training and facilities they need.

But Government now says the building is not suitable and an alternative will need to be found.

But the cash-strapped organization is looking for answers, not more questions.

Boxing referee and BBA secretary/treasurer Debrah Smith said: "We've gone through Minister Butler, Minister Horton and now Minister James. We had a meeting with him earlier this year and he categorically said to us Admiralty House will not be available to us.

"I asked what other venue do you have? He didn't have an answer."

She said Government budgeted $500,000 last year for the renovations for Admiralty House.

"Find us a piece of grass and do something on it. It's a shame because we have so much potential."

BBA president James Marina said the organization has made mistakes in the past by missing deadlines and not having their books in order, but they are getting their house in order and they need help.

"This is a sore a point for us," he said.

"It doesn't just relate to Admiralty House, it relates to concerns over the attention that is given to boxing in general. "

"Okay, if they (Government) say we can't use Admiralty House, what can we use? It's just like I can't tell my boss what I can't do, I have to find a solution to the problem."

He said Admiralty House had been promised for years and "now we're back to square one again."

He said boxing equipment and records are being stored in his house and Debrah Smith's home.

"We need a place where we can store our records and some of the equipment. We just need some answers and we need some support. We're going to move forward, regardless but we need some help."

Marina added: "I am tired of hearing about possibilities. Our desire is to develop the next champion for the island.

"We have very little support (from Government and elsewhere) coming at us in terms of our present budget. We can't even afford to put on Bermuda Championships."

He said that boxing is trying to start a school championships but money is sorely lacking.

Marina admitted that last year the BBA didn't file their application for a Government grant on time.

"Last year we missed the deadline," Marina said.

But he insisted that should not mean they were cut off from funding.

"To me it's the same as saying there's somebody starving out there, but you missed the deadline for us offering you food so we closed the door. They need to open the door and offer the food to the starving person whether they missed the deadline or not."

He said the organization had trouble getting money from businesses because their books had not been audited for years, but they are in the process of getting those up to date.

Businesses like Belco, M&M and International Sports Shop had offered some support, he added.

"We are working on this year's audit," Marina said.

"There are no shenanigans going on financially, because there's no money for shenanigans to take place. Once the audit is completed I am curious as to what the response will be."

The BBA president said he submitted a budget of $250,000 to Government to run its programme for the next two years.

"But I expect it to be rejected because I don't think anyone cares about our kids. I don't think anyone has the vision as to what can take place."

He said part of that vision would be to help create the next great Bermudian boxer and he believes that is Nikki Bascome.

"Nikki is awesome. He is a potential Olympian. At the last Caribbean Championships I had people come up to me as I sat at the official's table. They asked 'Where did he come from? Who is this kid?"

He said Bascome needs to get a minimum of eight bouts a year, of which at least two would have to be away.

Boxing referee and former BBA vice president Nelson Bascome said it was "very important" that the sport have its own place to call home.

"I would have to say having a centralized gym will probably put to question the local gyms. It will distract from some of the things that they are doing.

"If the local gyms can tie into a national programme, then we can move forward because it's about the boxing. It's about how best can we serve persons who are wanting to box and do it at an international and competitive level." Bascome suggested that between the National Centre and the facility being built at White Hill Field there is an opportunity for boxing to have a purpose built gym.