Boxing president Nathan Dill talks up pair’s Olympic qualifying prospects
Lovintz Tota and Adrian Roach will travel to Argentina next month with the hope of securing their spot at the next Olympic Games.
The two boxers, who train out of Controversy Gym, are scheduled to compete in an qualifying event at the Technopolis in Buenos Aires from May 5 to 16.
Tota is competing in the middleweight class and fellow orthodox fighter Roach in the welterweight class.
The top three boxers in each weight class will book their spot at the Tokyo Games this summer.
Nathan Dill, the Bermuda Boxing Federation president, is optimistic of the pair’s chances.
“I really feel good about their chances,” he said. “These guys have been working really hard for the last couple of months.
“They are both enthusiastic and very excited about the opportunity of being selected for the national team.”
Roach, 18, whose amateur record stands at 4-2, is preparing overseas for the upcoming event.
“Adrian is at Crandall University in New Brunswick, Canada,” Dill said. “He actually got a scholarship for boxing.
“His university has a varsity boxing team, so he basically is a student-athlete just like a track athlete but for boxing.
“He wakes up, he goes training, goes classes and then he goes training again. It’s ideal circumstances for him, and to be in that environment ahead of the qualifier is going to be great.
“Adrian is 18 now and I was preparing him in my mind for 2024 because he would be prime time for that point. But for him to go out now at 18 and get the experience is going to be amazing for him. He’s going to get loads of experience from this.”
Tota, 35, whose record stands at an unblemished 4-0, is going through his paces on island.
“I believe that Lovintz has what it takes and he is working extra, extra hard,” Dill said.
“He was always working hard because his plan was to go pro within the next two years but then Covid came and kind of sidelined that.
“Lovintz’s plan was to go pro in 2022 so we knew that he was ready and a good candidate, and we are excited about what he brings to the table.
“He has been an elite athlete all his life, whether through track and field or football, and he brings those same skill sets, work ethic and intensity to boxing.”
Next month’s qualifier will be the pair’s only shot at securing an Olympic place.
“Basically because of Covid this is the only qualifier that they will have to place in,” Dill said. “They have to qualify at this event because they have no ranking.
“They haven’t done any International Boxing Association events or any other events, so this is the only event that would give them the ability to qualify for the Olympics.”
Tota and Roach, who will be accompanied in Argentina by national coach Jermel Woolridge and BBF secretary Chequita Simmons, are the first local fighters to compete at this stage of Olympic qualifying in more than a decade.
“We haven’t been able to go into a qualifier in the last ten to 15 years because we haven’t been able to get past the preliminary event,” Dill said.
“Ordinarily they would have to do the regional qualifier and then the world qualifier. But because of Covid they cancelled the world qualifier, so this is an exciting opportunity for both of them to go straight into the Olympic qualifier.”
Bermuda was granted another opportunity to qualify after the International Olympic Committee banned the International Boxing Association from participating in the next Olympics after years of financial chaos and allegations of corrupt judging.
While boxing remains on the programme, the IOC will organise the competition itself.