By Michael Benjamin
There have been intense debates and discussions of the quality of contemporary boxers as against those of the past era and the general consensus seem to suggest that those of the past were definitely a cut above their present day counterparts.
Boxing fans rooted to this view was in for a big surprise when Dexter Gonsalves faced off with Barbados based Guyanese pugilist, Revlon Lake, on the Guyana Fight Night boxing card September last. In what was a clinical and brutal encounter, Gonsalves blasted Lake into oblivion and stripped him of the local jnr/lightweight title in round seven. Since then, Gonsalves has been inactive and just relegated to the gym as no other boxer wanted any part of him.
Iwan Azore has recently taken up the challenge and he will clash with Gonsalves in an 8 round jnr/middleweight fight when the Guyana Boxing Board of Control (GBBC) presents the Night of the Contenders at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH), Saturday September 13 next. The fight was initially scheduled for the Banks DIH Thirst Park Sports Club this month end but promoters were forced to change the date and venue due to the inclement weather.
Last Friday afternoon, Gonsalves was engaged in intense training at the Forgotten Youth Foundation Boxing Gym in Albouystown under the watchful eyes of coach, Joseph Murray. He was merely engaged in shadow boxing exercises as well as a few rounds on the heavy bag.
This represented light work as Gonsalves had already done the bulk of the work earlier in the week and was merely at cruising altitude. Murray said that his charge had had several quality rounds of sparring with former world champion, Gary St Clair and Simeon Hardy. He said that Gonsalves had stood his ground notwithstanding the disparity in experience and he believes that his charge is ready for Azore.
When asked whether his fans could expect a knockout, Gonsalves replied, “That’s exactly what’s on my mind.” The uninitiated might just brush off this caustic remark as bragging but for those that witnessed the Lake bout this statement could spell curtains for Azore.
Azore is no slouch and can be a dangerous fighter on his night. He had two epic encounters with Troy Lewis and while the first one ended on a no contest, Azore bounced back to take the return clash on points. He got a bit ambitious and signed to fight Hardy and lost that fight on points. Despite losing, Azore gained satisfaction that he was able to last out against Hardy, who has racked up quite a reputation as a knockout artist; he failed to upkeep the tradition against a tough Azore.
Both Gonsalves and Azore have had tenures in Trinidad and trained at the Tiger eye Gym. “I know him well after training at the same institution and am certain that I will knock him out,” was Gonsalves noncommittal response to a question asked.
Azore is currently preparing at his Trinidad base and could not respond to Gonsalves’ outbursts but those familiar with his style and temperament will admit that he could hold his own and might just surprise Gonsalves and prick his confidence. Azore is expected in Guyana within the next week.
Fans will also be entertained with several other bouts and in the main attraction Dereck Richmond will square off with Jamaican Contender champion, Sakima Mullings in an 8 rounds jnr/middleweight scrap. Richard Williamson will oppose Dexter Marques in a bantamweight 6 rounder, while Jamaican, Kamal Russell and Guyanese Winston Pompey will clash in a 6 rounds middleweight bout. Bell time remains at 20:00hrs sharp.
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