“Sugar” Bert Wells likes to say the sweet science of boxing is not to get hit. But the sport has taken it on the chin for longer than its followers would like. Perhaps the biggest black eyes came when the 2012 U.S. Olympic men’s team was knocked out of London without a medal. Wells is fighting back at the grassroots level, expanding his training series at Paul Murphy Boxing Club, north of Atlanta, to now include planning a series of events across the country.
Sugar Bert Boxing Promotions came out swinging in February with its inaugural event in Branson, Missouri—the first of four competitions for amateur boxers ages 8 and older scheduled for this year. Next up is a qualifier in Punta Gorda, Florida (June 11-12), followed by another in Columbus, Georgia (Aug. 27-28). The main event is the national championships in Kissimmee, Florida, in November. Connect Sports talked to Wells about his plans for the company, the state of boxing and the time he met Bert Sugar (no relation).
What spurred you into the events business?
After we had no male boxers win medals at the 2012 Olympics, gyms and promoters like myself got personalized letters from the head of USA Boxing saying we need to do something on the grassroots level so this never happens again. I went and talked to my wife and said God put something in my heart and we need to help amateur boxing. So we decided to create tournaments that could be placed anywhere in the country so boxers can compete with each other on a high level.
What’s the company’s relationship with USA Boxing?
USA Boxing is our big brother; we are sanctioned through them. USA Boxing certifies all officials, boxers and anyone else working our events. There’s room to further partner with them because USA Boxing does not do many tournaments around the country. It’s promoters like me who do the tournaments. We’d love to go to them and say one of our events can be a qualifier with the winners advancing to the Olympic trials.