Boxing: Brighter future for ABA

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THE future of the Amateur Boxing Association, which appeared to be in jeopardy when the Sports Council suspended its annual pounds 108,000 grant last month, seems brighter following a meeting of the ABA's national council in Oxford on Saturday, writes Nick Halling.

The gathering of 65 senior officials from the English ABA recommended the endorsement of a six-point plan proposed by the Sports Council which sought to provide a sound basis for the sport's future development. The Council requires acceptance of its proposals as a prerequisite to the restoration of grant aid payments.

The ABA has formally voted against disbanding, electing instead to appoint a six-man steering committee to conduct negotiations with the Council.

'The Sports Council will be very happy to learn that we have taken their very sensible recommendations on board,' Bert Pontremoli, the ABA's Southern Counties secretary, said. 'This represents the beginning of a move to a better situation. We've been through some rough times, but we are pulling together now, and I am certain there will be a future for the ABA.'

Despite the veneer of solidarity, however, the meeting had its stormier moments. A vote of no confidence in the ABA's officers was carried by an overwhelming 49-13 majority, confirming a similar vote at last month's council meeting.

Once again the beleaguered officers concerned, the chairman, William Cox, the treasurer, Richie King, and the secretary, Colin Brown, refused to stand down.

Cox and Brown, both of whom were unwilling to comment yesterday, may not have many friends within their own organisation and are believed to have even fewer admirers in the Sports Council, which may view their continued presence with concern.

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