The absence of the crowds at amateur boxing events have been of concern for administrators of the
Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) and necessitated assertive action if only to save the sport from local extinction, and boxers, the humiliation of eventually fighting to totally empty stands.
The ploy to shift venues from the enclosed Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH) to the M&CC Municipal Center, California Square, East Ruimveldt, has reaped dividends and the crowd attendance at the finals of the Open Championships, averaging around one thousand screaming patrons, was indeed heartening.
Notwithstanding, the boxers are important stakeholders and ought to be cognizant of their all important role in the scheme of things. There was evidence of such cognizance and one could not help but single out two pugilists, Jamal Eastman of Rose Hall Jammers Boxing gym and Jason Phillips of the Young Achievers Boxing gym; both pugilists performed above par.
Much was expected of Phillips in his 69kgs bout against Eon Bancroft in their semi-final bout but the youngster, despite putting up a very good offence, found the experience and wit of his opponent too much to deal with and eventually surrendered a lopsided unanimous verdict.
In the Intermediate tournament, Phillips had turned in a determined performance to outlast his GDF opponent, Jamal Glasgow while Eastman, who had lost out to Seon Griffith (FYF) in their 52kgs bout, had returned to avenge that loss.
Phillips was not so lucky in the senior tournament and lost to the more seasoned Eon Bancroft (GDF) in the semi-finals. So what is so special about him? When I first saw Phillips in the gym my mind retraced the first time I had seen Rawle Frank in action; Phillips had all the attributes of the former world rater.
His compilation of punches, his firm stance and best of all, his staunch determination were indeed impressive. I daresay that a few months down the line, once he remains focused this young man will create ripples in the boxing arena.
Eastman comes from good stock and is the nephew of Howard ‘Battersea Bomber’ Eastman. The fact that he practices his trade in the Ancient County where there is a paucity of coaches and the concentration of boxing is somewhat limited, certainly does not hamper his application to the sport but speaks volumes of his ability.
Further, it highlights the necessary urgency by GBA executives to incorporate the activities of the national coach in those rural areas. Eastman is young, skillful, eager to learn and those are just the kind of talent needed if local executives are to engage in developmental programmes for young boxers.
The same could be said of Jason Phillips who, despite losing two recent bouts, can still be considered for investment in the future of the sport. After all, that is, or ought to be, the pivotal objective of boxing administrators in their quest to foster development of the fistic sport.
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