‘Thirst Park Explosion’
‘Stealth Bomber’ O’Neil promises to explode; London promises fireworks
If Gwendolyn O’Neil and Pauline London have their way, the Banks DIH Thirst Park Ground would be transformed into a raging inferno when they clash for the former fighter’s World International Boxing Association (WIBA) light/heavyweight belt on Saturday October 29 next.
O’Neil flew into Guyana from her Brooklyn NY base and immediately revealed that she is in no mood to relinquish her title and is so angry that London would dare to think of relieving her of it that she has threatened to knock out her out.
The veteran fighter who became the first Guyanese woman to win a world title after thrashing American Kathlyn Rivers in June 2004, said that she is in the best shape of her life and plans to voraciously hold on to the title. She went a little further by predicting a knockout. Quizzed on the round for the stoppage O’Neil baulked. “I would leave that up to her to decide when she wants to quit,” she said.
London had just entered the Andrew Lewis Boxing Gym (ALBG) gym to commence her sessions after O’Neil’s concluded. She overheard the remarks and shouted, “It will be fireworks on that night.” O’Neil remained unperturbed while reminding London that the fight would not be staged on Diwali night.
The ‘Stealth Bomber’ flew into Guyana last Wednesday morning for her engagement and opened camp at the ALBG on Sunday and already is spewing confidence. From all appearances she is determined to hold on to the prestigious accolade. She intimated that her local sessions are a continuation of several weeks of hectic training at the Gleason’s Gym, Front Street Brooklyn NY.
O’Neil said that she commences sessions at 10:00hrs in the New York gym and concludes sessions at 14:00hrs under the stewardship of former professional pugilist, Dillon Carew. She said that she has been engaged in serious sparring sessions with her countrymen Dillon Carew, Rawle Frank, Leon Moore and a few other American fighters. She said that she hardly engages the women boxers in the gym. “They don’t provide the rough workouts that I need,” she explained.
Yesterday, the stocky pugilist augmented her overseas sessions with several rounds of pad work, under the direction of Terrence Poole and Lennox Daniels and was a willing student to several techniques demonstrated by the two coaches.
Lennox Daniels is impressed with O’Neil’s form and intimated that his job is relatively easy. “I am merely concentrating on the specifics,” he said when asked to comment on O’Neil’s prowess. The veteran coach supports his charge’s boasts of a knockout victory.
Edmond Declou was also in attendance at the gym and procured valuable advice on the employment of appropriate strategies for his title fight against Howard ‘Battersea Bomber’ Eastman on the same card. Measuring in excess of six feet, Declou was taught the importance of the jab while undergoing a stringent session on the striking pads. He complimented these sessions with several rounds on the heavy bag as he aspired to develop stamina and power and closed sessions with rigorous skipping and calisthenics.
A member of the Young Lion’s Boxing Gym in Wismar, Linden, Declou has complained in the past of inadequate sparring partners in that region to whip himself into the required shape for bouts. Apparently recognizing the importance of the Eastman clash, he has opted to switch to the capital city to take advantage of the available resources and sharpen his skills.
The Lindener would need to come into the bout at his best if he is to snatch Eastman’s title. He has demonstrated the capacity to rise to the occasion during his many fights on the ProAm boxing cards and boxing buffs would remember only too well, his epic clashes with Kwesi ‘Lightening Struck Assassin’ Jones when he after losing the first fight turned in a scintillating display to avenge that loss in their second meeting. Relatively young in the sport, Declou has chalked up 7 wins in his 10 fights career, losing twice and conceding a draw against Winston Pompey.
A reticent boxer in comparison to his garrulous contemporaries Declou, when asked to make a prediction simply stated that he is training very hard because he intends to win. His air of confidence coupled with his commitment to his job may be just the ingredients necessary to create an upset. Kaieteur Sport will continue to track the activities of the other boxers and report on what is expected to be a ‘don’t you dare miss it’ event. Admission prices are $2,500 for the inner ringside while those occupying the outer ringside will be asked to pay $1,500.