The 1974 World Amateur Boxing Championship in Havana, Cuba
Forty – two years ago, August 1974, seven young pugilist, Michael Reid, Mark Harris, Egbert Evan Parris, Keith Neil, Ramesh Best, Winfield Braithwaite, Reginald Ford accompanied by Coach Humber Green, Manager Leslie Alleyne and Doctor Ishri Singh departed Timehri International for Havana, Cuba to participate at the World Amateur Boxing Championship. Although Guyana failed to medal, Mark Harris and Reginald Ford reached the quarter finals. The other outstanding Guyanese pugilists were Michael Reid and Evan Parris.
Today, Kaieteur Sports and Sports Statistician Charwayne Walker looks back forty – two years ago at the performance of the seven men who carried the Golden Arrowhead in Havana. We start with the late Ramesh Best fighting in the junior fly weight division. Best was stopped in the first round after being floored two times. He lost to Hungary’s Gregery Jedo. Keith Neil fighting in the light middle weight division, lost to Poland’s Jerzy Ribicki. Neil retired in the second round.
Nineteen year old Winfield Braithwaite, fighting in the feather weight division, lost on points to Italian Salvadore Melluzzo. Michael Reid fighting in the light weight division left an indelible impression on the Cuban people and their leader Fidel Castro in his first fight. Reid destroyed Switzerland’s Mark Ritterschofer in the second round in his first bout and gained a standing ovation from the capacity crowd of sixteen thousand but he was disappointed in his second fight and failed to produce the same form he had shown on his debut. According to sports journalist Al McDonald, who went with the team to Cuba, Reid in his next fight against Japanese Okhubo used the wrong tactics. He held his guard two high, while endeavouring to mix it with the muscular Japanese with his body weight of one hundred and twenty six pounds against a hundred and thirty two pounds of the Japanese, that was a mistake and he was floored in the second round whereby the referee halted the contest.
Egbert Evan Parris fighting in the bantamweight division knocked out Kufuti Byanjine of Zaire in the first round. In his next fight against Nigerian Enenogo, Parris was way ahead on points when the bout was halted in the third and final round with blood streaming from Parris’ face. The Nigerian was repeatedly warned by the referee for ducking too low and using his head in the clinches and as the boxers disengaged from one of those clinches Parris’ face was streaming with blood from two cuts. The referee immediately halted the bout and the ring side doctor ruled that Parris was unfit to carry on.
Reginald Ford fighting in the welterweight division beat East German, Manfred Weider on points. Ford won his second fight when Northern Ireland, John Rodgers was disqualified in the third and final round. Ford lost in the quarterfinals to the Cuban, Emilio Correa by technical knockout in the second round.
Mark Harris fighting in the light welterweight division, stopped Gustava Flores of El Salvador, the referee called a halt to the proceedings in the second round. Harris won his second bout by a unanimous decision against Canadian Robert Proulex. Harris lost to Ugandan, Kalule in the quarterfinals by a split decision.
The other West Indian boxers that lost in the quarterfinals were Trinidadian, Nathaniel Jones and Jamaican, Malcolm McCallmon.
The land of many waters never attended another World Amateur Boxing Championship, so let’s salute the flag carriers of 1974. Mark Harris (deceased), Ramesh Best (deceased), Winfield Braithwaite, Michael Reid, Egbert Evan Parris, Keith Neil and Reginald Ford.
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