By Ron Shillingford
The Island Rumble boxing show with the legendary Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao in attendance was a bit of a soggy affair on Saturday night at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex but still a huge success.
The world champion boxer attended as guest of honour thanks to the entrepreneurial skills of local organiser Matthew Leslie who with the Cayman Islands Government and the Dubai-based commodities firm SDKA International managed to entice one of the most accomplished and popular fighters in boxing history to visit Cayman.
Mr. Pacquiao arrived on Friday, attended the ground breaking of the new Bodden Town gym on Saturday morning, was at the Island Rumble and went to Cayman Brac on Sunday. He also paid a visit to Health City Cayman Islands. He left on Monday having impressed everyone with his friendly demeanour and willingness to engage with all he met. He never refused to take a selfie throughout his time in Cayman and smiled throughout.
The Island Rumble was attended by Premier Alden McLaughlin, Minister of Sport Osbourne Bodden and a host of politicians and other public figures. Mr. Pacquiao addressed the crowd and thanked them for their friendliness. He said he was glad to be in Cayman and he loved the food. Luis “Cuban” Arias, an unbeaten professional fighter based in the United States, also attended the show.
Troy Oneil was a judge at the show. He said that the evening went well but a downpour prevented the last bout featuring Cayman’s top amateur Dariel Ebanks from fighting. “It was still a great evening,” Mr. Oneil said. “It was a huge crowd with lots of Filipinos there to see their hero. It was an awesome turnout. The only thing that messed it up was the rain.”
The evening started with two white collar fights to warm the crowd up. They featured Simon Hurry against Lee Murray and then James Burch against Logan Chinoy.
Then local fighter Chambria Dalhouse had a repeat unanimous points win over Jamaica’s Kerron Taylor in a female bout. Cayman’s Hopkin Ebanks won his fight in the first round by stoppage having taken a standing count himself in the opening exchanges. Dan Hewitt-Dean was stopped in the second round of his contest. There were long intervals between the bouts for local artists to perform but it was overall a great and historic night.