Q&A - Get to know MAA President Billingham!
What does MAA mean to you?
The MAA to me is a large, large family comprised of the many clubs in our geographic area. The Middle Atlantic has a unique balance of strict discipline to USA Boxing Rules coupled with accommodation to its members whenever possible. The MAA has grown from a small LBC to a major force in the USA Boxing world.
What do you want MAA to mean to current/new/potential members?
I am hoping that all new and renewing members find a home in the Middle Atlantic. I hope everyone feels comfortable and a part of the team. As President, I welcome any and all assistance from all who offer as well as invite new ideas to help our LBC advance. The Officers are constantly looking for new ways to improve our LBC.
What are some of the goals for MAA in the future?
In the last five years, our LBC has come from last in the nation, slated to be dismantled, to being in the top five in the country in size. We are probably at the top when it comes to compliance to Rules. This is directly related to the hard work of our Coaches and Officials in maintaining the professionalism and integrity of USA Boxing Rules. I am always impressed, whether at a local or national event, at the conduct, behavior and professionalism of our members. We went from 34 gyms and 874 members in the LBC when I became President a few years ago to 72 gyms and over 1,450 members at the close of 2017. My ultimate goal is to have 75 active and registered Gyms. We have also become a major reckoning force in the Junior Olympics (the future of amateur boxing) winning more National Titles than ever before and we intend to move forward to break even more goals. We hosted the Olympic Qualifiers (no small task), and was recognized by USA Boxing for the professionalism displayed by our members.
What are some things that make you really proud to be a part of the MAA?
First and foremost is the overwhelming national success of our athletes. These accomplishments can only be obtained by incredible Coaching as well as Judging at the shows. Our Coaches and Officials have embraced USA Boxing's push to move forward and succeeded in every aspect. Due to these successes within the LBC, as President, I have been appointed to an unprecedented number of National Committees as well as Chairing two of them. Our Officers have also done an exemplary job. The members have no idea how much time is put in behind the scenes in order to obtain these results. Vice President Price is a powerhouse and responsible for many of our accomplishments. I am equally proud of the relationship between our Coaches and Officials. Chief of Officials Jamil Ali has mastered the delicate balance of enforcing USA Boxing Rules and assisting members to succeed.
What made you want to be President?
"Due to an incredible number of violations and grievances, our LBC was put on official Oversight by USA Boxing. We were going to be dismantled as an LBC and become members of bordering LBCs. I saw many improprieties that needed to be addressed and at no small cost to my time, immersed myself into the workings of the LBC to try to save it. I worked hand-in-hand with USA Boxing to become compliant and improve our LBC; as a result, we have soared to being in the top 5 in the nation and our LBC has been recognized for many National accomplishments."
Why is boxing important to you and what does it mean to you?
"Boxing is a great sport when practiced correctly. It is called the "sweet science" because that is exactly what it is...a science. There is a great deal of physics involved in order to maximize your abilities as well as advance your training techniques. The discipline involved is second to none and assists many young boys and girls to succeed later in life. "
What info should visitors to the new MAA site expect to get?
"I am optimistic that they will receive a plethora of positive information regarding boxing in general. They should be able to conveniently see what is going on, when it is going on, and where it is going on in our LBC. Visitors should also be able to obtain information on our gyms and any events they are having. In addition to spotlighting boxers, Officials and Coaches, there will be informative articles about USA Boxing to include National events and Rules changes."