The boxing fraternity worldwide is mourning the death of Jamaican boxing promoter and businessman Lucien Chen.Chen died at age 88 in Miami, Florida, on Wednesday. He had been residing in the United States for several years.The Jamaican was well known in boxing circles all over the world, and ruled the boxing landscape locally for decades. Boxing was not his only love, however, as he was an avid fan of horse racing and owned several horses. He was also a skilled bridge player and, at one time, was the head of Track Price Plus, a leading local book-making company.He was innovative and did things in boxing that no other promoter would dare to try. He brought some of the biggest names in boxing here, and one recalls Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Jimmy Beecham, and Simon Brown, who graced our shores at his invitation. He also worked with local boxing stars who made it to the top, and these included Bunny Grant, Percy Hayles and Richard Clarke, as well as well known world champions Michael McCallum and Trevor Berbick.He was associated with Berbick in the negotiations for his world title fight with Mike Tyson, which earned for Berbick his biggest pay-day of US$2-million. Although he was not the promoter for the Sunshine Showdown between George Foreman and Joe Frazier, he played an important role in getting the fight to take place here in 1973, and was part of the group that put the card together.successful promoterHis ring savvy and knowledge of boxing enabled him to be the most successful promoter to have graced these shores, and he will go down in history as the man who introduced Dinner/Boxing to Jamaica. Frustrated that he would hold massive shows in the National Stadium, National Arena and at Sabina Park and end up losing money at the gate, he took boxing to the controlled area of a hotel ballroom.He would arrange an attractive televised boxing card, which would be preceded by cocktails and dinner, and for which all tickets were sold in advance. He was also able to garner attractive sponsorship packages that ensured that the event would make money. On many occasions, the proceeds were donated to charities. On at least two occasions, he donated the proceeds of his shows to needy boxers.Before boxing, he was very successful in the insurance business, after which he moved into bookmaking when it became legal. He owned local bookmaking company Track Price Plus, with some colleagues, and this was an area in which he was very innovative.His House of Chen Restaurant on Knutsford Boulevard was a showpiece, and was well patronised by sports people. He entertained many overseas boxers there, before and after their fights. His son, Lenny, who followed in his footsteps in both boxing and the bookmaking business, disclosed that Chen was ailing for some time and died peacefully. He has left a tremendous legacy in boxing and has set the bar high for those who will try to follow in his footsteps.
For new netball president Paula Daley-Morris, a high-performance centre (HPC) to enhance and improve netballers and sportsmen and women in general and a National Recovery Centre (NRC) to help heal injuries and aid in recovery would be an ideal investment in the nation’s sportsmen and women when the new government takes office.Daley-Morris said that with the ever-increasing importance of sports and our sportsmen to the nation, having an HPC and an NRC would show the new administration that it is serious about assisting the nation’s sports representatives.”We would want a high performance centre, and we want a high-performance programme to be put in place for netball. We would really like the mechanics and different types of testing services, and when there are injuries, we need a national recovery centre with different hot and cold baths to help with recovery processes, improving the fine things around the game. We need somewhere to facilitate all that, so that would be at the top of my list,” she reasoned.However, Daley-Morris would prefer if Netball Jamaica provided the funding to implement programmes and the Government laid the infrastructure to take the sport forward.”I don’t view the Government as being responsible for those improvements. I think it is down to my organisation. What we would need is greater financial support for the changes because we have good plans on the table.”If our plans to spread the game across the island and have competitions in all parishes materialise, we need to have government support in terms of upgrading facilities in communities where we want to play games. We need bathroom facilities and changing accommodations in those areas,” she continued.But she commended the sports ministry and both parties for maintaining continuity even after a change of government.”I must commend the Government. I am not singling out any party because over the last 10 years, the Government has done a lot to improve sports in Jamaica. I really couldn’t say otherwise. First we had Portia Simpson as minister, then ‘Babsy’ (Olivia) Grange, and now, Natalie Neita Headley, and the three have run a good baton race. The passing of the baton has been great, and they continue to make steps,” she said ahead of Thursday’s general election.”Normally, we are used to a new government coming in and dismantling everything, but we saw a lot of continuity in sports, so we have to be grateful. But I think the reason that happens is because of the setting up of the Sports Development Foundation, which is an independent body that continues to grow sports,” she said.