The Cayman Islands Boxing Association held the first of their new format Family Fun Day events at the Dalmain Ebanks gym on Saturday.
The event saw nine bouts demonstrating the skills of the newly constituted national team, for most of whom this was their first public boxing performance. The crowd were entertained by athletes as young as 12 as well as enjoying music by DJ Special Opz and food and soft drinks provided by Food for Thought.
First up were Mark Forbes Cruz and Junior Williams. This bout provided valuable experience for them as both are in their early teens and this was their first bout. The decision was split with the ultimate win going to Junior Williams. Second up, saw Nathaan Hales against Alex Hurlston. Hurlston, who has a little prior amateur experience, was ultimately defeated by Hales, who impressed the judges and made him one to watch for the future.
Then Jathaan Barnes and Nathan McLaughlin took to the ring. This was the first bout for both and they demonstrated their enthusiasm and energy over the first two rounds before the referee stopped the contest in the third with Barnes taking the win.
Fourth up was possibly the most entertaining bout of the day and a close contest between another two talented newcomers, Sabien Barnes and Keanu McField Jackson. This was a very engaging bout but a training injury for Barnes meant that it was stopped in the third round to avoid any further discomfort. Expert sports physician, Dr Jody Timpson of Novoclinic Cayman, was on-hand to assess the injury and give advice to Barnes, who will need to ensure that he is not exacerbating the injury over the next few months.
Newcomers Deandre Rowe and Michael Pearson went three rounds together resulting in a unanimous decision to Rowe. Then the floor went to the youngest boxers of the day, 12-year-old Aldene Forbes-Morgan fought Liam Chisholm. The pair both performed admirably with the bout having to be stopped numerous times due to the uniform being too big for Chisholm! Despite the wardrobe malfunctions, it was a close decision with Chisholm just pipping Forbes-Morgan to the post in the split decision.
Alex Smith then fought against relative newcomer Romario Campbell. Campbell is a Caymanian boxer based in Birmingham, U.K. While he had never fought in Cayman before,
he does have experience boxing in England. Unfortunately, a pre-existing shoulder injury for Campbell cut this bout short, resulting in a win for the experienced Smith.
The final bout was between elite boxer Hopkin Ebanks and national team athlete Eduardo Montalvo. This was an entertaining bout between the well-matched pair. However, Montalvo’s fitness was not at optimal levels and this, combined with Ebanks’ experience, allowed him an easy win when Montalvo could not go the distance.
Overall the boxers had an excellent day and it was a valuable learning curve for both the boxers and the association, who were using the event as part of the qualifying criteria for the selection of the team for the 2017 Caribbean Championships. It afforded an opportunity for nationally certified boxing officials to gain further practice as well. CIBA hopes to build upon the success of this format by holding this event on a regular three monthly basis.
Boxer Brandy Barnes said: “Overall the event was a success, I think that the boxers enjoyed having family and friends there to support and watch them for the first time. Also, it brought a more competitive and intense atmosphere which is, as you can imagine a lot different than regular spar day. Even though the boxers left with a few bruises and busted lips I’m sure they would be happy to do it again. The nervousness got to a few of us to make for a bit of a messy fight but that’s what makes it entertaining and that is the experience that we need to improve.”
Barnes added: “Besides all of that, this event helped shed light on what we all as boxers need to work on in terms of fitness and technicality. Now this just means we get to bring our A games not only during an event but especially in training. I think a lot of us underestimated the hard work you really have to put into the preparation stages before a big event.
“With the new association and team/boxing family we can help each other acquire and achieve goals not only for the next few months but for the entirety of our boxing careers. I don’t know about everyone else but personally I would love to see this team be the best in the Caribbean. Support, encouragement and confidence can take us very far.”
The boxing association thanked the event sponsors Elite Marble and Granite, Food for Thought, Novoclinic Cayman, Dr Timpson, Tracy Gibbs, DJ Special Opz, Cayman Business Forms, Classic Printers, Powder Monkey and raffle donations from The Ritz-Carlton, Lone Star and PDs.