Boxing: Commonwealth Games dream for Island referee
JERSEY LEONIS ABC president Richard Langlois is embarking on an ambitious quest to get inside the ring at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham ... as a referee.
Langlois was recently upgraded as a referee for the amateur sport meaning he will be looking to take charge of the squared-circle for boxing competitions in the UK as well as Jersey and Guernsey, as soon as the coronavirus pandemic starts abating and normality resumes, of course.
Langlois had been a grade C club referee for the past 14 years – the only active referee on the Island, too – but had only taken charge of home bouts for Leonis. Now he has his sights on spreading his wings further afield in the hope of one-day being called on to referee the best amateur boxing tournaments.
‘I’ve got to really thank Brian Follain. He’s been with the club for 65 years nearly. He’s been my mentor in a lot of ways for refereeing. He’s encouraged me and pushed me and it was on the back of his advice that I applied to get the upgrade,’ said Langlois. ‘It involved taking a written exam and I had to go to Torquay in November to referee at the Riviera Box Cup where I was assessed on the practical side of refereeing which I passed to get to grade B.’
To become a referee at the Commonwealth Games, Langlois would need to get a further upgrade to grade A, something which would have been achievable until Covid-19 turned everything on its head.
‘To be able to take the next step I’ve got to be grade B for a year, but I also have to referee a hundred bouts so, although I will have the timing, I doubt I’ll now get the bouts in because I don’t know when anybody is going to hold boxing. Everything’s up in the air,’ Langlois lamented.
‘I’m still going to give it a good go.’
Nevertheless, even if he doesn’t make it to Birmingham, there is still a lot to look forward to in the short-term and beyond.
‘I think I’m the first referee that the Island’s ever had that’s got to grade B. It’s something I’m really proud of,’ continued Langlois. ‘When you qualify to grade B you go on what they call the regional major panel. So all the referees at this level are in the pot and they get selected one-by-one so I could get a call at anytime to referee a competition somewhere in the UK.’
And what about the 2026 Commonwealth Games? ‘Oh yeah, anything that can further your career. If you look even further ahead, the world’s your oyster. If you do a year at grade A then you can get to another level and that’s where it takes you to the Olympics and World Championships. Yeah, why not set your sights high? There’s no reason why I couldn’t achieve it. I’m young and healthy enough to do it.’
As well as Follain, Langlois is keen to thank everyone else who has helped him on his path. ‘I don’t know how I would have done it without Brian’s help. Leonis have funded me to go away to referee bouts too, so I need to thank our coaches Miguel [Ferreira], Kevin [Baudains], Tony [Burt] and Ian [Dunbar]. And the other person I really need to thank is James Tilley at Jersey Sport who support not only the athletes, but coaches and officials too. I’m just really grateful to everyone for their support.’
Hopefully Langlois, who has been a part of the Leonis gym family for over 40 years, boxing as a junior when his was ten, will be back on the Commonwealth Games pathway very soon.
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