HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Members of various boxing clubs in Hawaii are facing disciplinary action after participating in what USA Boxing calls an “unsanctioned event.”
The organization’s local president said those rules exist to protect the health and safety of the young competitors.
The dispute came to light this week after dozens of young Hawaiian boxers and their trainers descended on USA Boxing Hawaii’s Kapolei headquarters, protesting the ban on boxers up to nine years old.
“It was pretty scary because, you know, they were yelling and making the little kids that were with them yell at us too,” said Eiichi Jumawan, president of USA Boxing Hawaii.
Much of the frustration at the rally was directed at Jumawan. Protesters gathered in front of his gym.
They thought I was the guy. And that’s why I eat unleashed on me.
But Jumawan said the decisions come from the national level of the organization.
“I have no authority or power to sanction anyone. I also do not have the power to overrule them,” she said.
A letter from USA Boxing’s Colorado headquarters warned members not to participate in an unauthorized competition that took place on April 15. Members who participated could be suspended.
Some of Jumawan’s supporters said he has been facing threats.
“We’re definitely going to show passion when we feel our kids have been wronged, but in terms of threats and so forth, I haven’t heard any kind of threat,” said Manawai Boxing trainer Rylan Redona.
The Manawai members were at the event on April 15. But Redona said children shouldn’t be the ones being penalized.
“Especially when they’re young (nine, 10, 11 years old, in their teens) they’re going to do whatever their coach says,” Redona said.
He added that many of the young boxers were set to fly to the mainland for a Youth Olympic Games competition in just two weeks’ time. But that trip is in limbo because of the suspensions.
“We all need to come together,” Redona said. “All the coaches, all the teams, the president of USA Boxing Hawaii, and we have to figure something out.”
Redona and Jumawan acknowledged that the coaches had an opportunity to respond to the warning letter. Redona said he and the other coaches did, but have not received a replay from the national organization.
While the coaches are hoping for some sort of resolution, Jumawan said it’s out of their hands.
“It’s a very, very difficult lesson to learn that way,” Jumawan said. “I wish it didn’t come to that.”
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