By Michael Benjamin
As the curtains came down on the finals in the Guyana Amateur Boxing Association (GABA) Champion of Champions, Junior Cadet, U-15 and Starters tournament at the Mandela Avenue, Gymnasium on Saturday night last, fans were treated to several knockouts and slugfests that all added to the entertainment mix and qualified the night’s proceedings as the best seen in recent times.
However, the highly anticipated awards for the best boxer, champion gym and best coach, among others were not announced and the organizers have promised to convene a special ceremony to distribute these awards at a later date.
Notwithstanding this, the tournament, sponsored by Church’s Chicken, witnessed a marked improvement in the performances by the boxers as they contested for titles in the various weight divisions.
The fighters occupying the lighter weight divisions whetted the fans’ appetite with some slugfests but it was the two light/heavyweights, Romeo Norville (HEBG) and Republican, Sherwin Clarke that provided the type of action packed encounter that sent the small crowd in a frenzy and kept them on their feet for the duration of the fight.
Their bout started at a sedate pace with both fighters sizing up each other. The pair only needed about one minute to engage in this exercise as shortly afterwards Clarke launched a few torpedoes at Norville’s head. He followed up with a flurry to his opponent’s kitchen and looked intent on closing shop very early.
Norville was a little slow in retaliating but when he did, Clarke knew that he was in for a stiff fight. The stocky Norville, of Amerindian descent, served up some roundhouse punches that connected to Clarke’s face and to his credit, he took them like a man; retaliating with power punches of his own.
The action continued into the second stanza and the screams of the small crowd was a sure indication that they were being entertained.
The ferocious pace of the first two rounds would have exhausted any other fighter but Norville and Clarke obviously had some bad blood between them and were intent on settling the issue there and then.
The first round was smoke, the final round, the fire.
Punches rained supreme as the two warriors stood toe to toe and exchanged bombs, neither bothering to offer any mode of defence. Norville ripped a shot to Clarke’s midsection and the Republican retaliated with a chopping right to his opponent’s neck. A one-two combination rocked Clarke’s jaw. He shook it off and served up two shots of his own to Norville’s head.
The final bell sounded but so intent were the two warriors in inflicting pain to each other that they continued lashing out.
The referee had to swiftly jump into the centre and separate them. Both fighters raised their hands in anticipation of the pronouncement that they were victorious.
The judges decided that Norville had done enough to earn the split decision verdict.
Earlier in the night Imran Khan (HE) and Moonchan Sankar (RIC) slugged away at each other in a light/flyweight encounter that was as fast as it was furious.
The shorter of the two, Sankar chose to initiate an ‘in fighting’ ploy that seemed to be working until he got his rhythm. He demonstrated great ring generalship but it was Sankar who proved his versatility and switched to long range boxing tactics. His efforts came a mite too late as by then Sankar had done more than enough to earn the judges’ nod.
Another fight of note occurred between Ricola’s Clive Atwell and Republican Jermaine Cort.
Atwell was definitely the more experienced of the two and he spared no effort in underlining this fact. Cort was totally befuddled by Atwell’s tactics and instead of a having a fight, Atwell was more or less enjoying target practice.
The onslaught continued into the third stanza and it was puzzling to decipher why the referee allowed the bout to continue.
Corts’ best moments occurred in the second round when he managed to trap Atwell in the neutral corner but the moment was as brief as it was ineffective.
Respite came, not from the third man, but from a well timed combination to his body that decked Cort and he decided to remain there for the full count.
Other results are: JUST STARTERS U-15 65-69lbs Romel Rowley(Ric) earned a decision over Seon Griffith(FYF), 70-71lbs Kerwin Lambert(Ric) was too good for Godfrey Lynch(Ric) and won by decision.
JUST STARTERS SENIORS: Light/welterweight Nawaz Alli(REP) failed in his bout against his gym-mate Andel Fraser, while welterweight Marvin Eastman(Rep) defeated Sherwin Hope, also of the Republican gym.
CADET SENIOR Light/flyweight, Imran Khan(HE) lost to Moonchan Sankar(Ric) Flyweight Derek Hyman(ESSQ) defeated gym-mate Kelvin Moore, Bantamweight Marlon Darrel(RIC) needed just 1 min,4 seconds of round 2 to dispose of Wensel Thomas(FYF). Featherweight, Clive Atwell(Ric) knocked out Jermaine Cort(Rep) Light/welterweight Aubrey Moore(Essq) won from Bert Braithwaite(GDF) Welterweight Devon Boatswain outclassed Ryan Seales(REP), Middleweight David Walters(Rep)failed in his effort against Delroy James(Rep) and in the JUST STARTER(senior) category, Jason Barker(Rep) defeated Troy Waldron(WSB) to win the senior heavyweight championship.
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